Arent Fox has sued one its former partners, Jay Deshmukh, alleging he breached an agreement to pay the firm $96,000 when he negotiated a speedy exit to join Kasowitz Benson Torres last fall.
In a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Arent Fox asserts that Deshmukh submitted his resignation in September 2018, triggering a 60-day notice provision in the firm’s standard partnership agreement. The firm said it agreed to waive the notice requirement, however, in return for six monthly payments of $16,000.
When Deshmukh’s first payment to Arent Fox was due in October 2018, he paid only $5,000, according to the lawsuit. Under the terms of their agreement, the partial payment obligated Deshmukh to pay the entire balance immediately, which he failed to do, Arent Fox claims.
Arent Fox partners Randall Brater and Alison Lima Anderson filed the complaint on the firm’s behalf. Arent Fox said it had no comment on the suit.
Deshmukh didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment made to his office at Kasowitz. When he joined Kasowitz in New York last fall, the firm touted his arrival as a partner in its intellectual property litigation group, noting his expertise in Hatch-Waxman Act litigation.
Prior to joining Kasowitz from Arent Fox, Deshmukh was partner at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, where he spent seven years. He was previously senior vice president of global IP at Ranbaxy Laboratories, a generic pharmaceutical company.
Arent Fox has had to grapple with fallout from lateral moves in its IP litigation group before. In 2017, an Arent Fox patent prosecution and intellectual property litigation partner was convicted of insider trading based on conduct at his prior firm. Robert Schulman, the D.C.-based partner, joined the firm in late 2015 and was prosecuted in New York for passing a tip along involving a billion-dollar pharmaceutical merger. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld his conviction earlier this month.