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Argued: September 3, 2009

Before: JACOBS, Chief Judge, WESLEY and HALL, Circuit Judges.

Plaintiffs in this class action were policyholders of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company when it was a mutual insurance company. They complain that they were misled and shortchanged in the transaction by which the company demutualized in 2000. Nine years after the action was commenced and five weeks before trial was scheduled to begin, plaintiffs moved to disqualify the lead counsel for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and MetLife, Inc. (“MetLife”), Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (“Debevoise”). The grounds alleged related to that firm’s representation of MetLife in the underlying demutualization. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Platt, J.) granted the motion to disqualify on September 1; the district court then stayed its order and immediately certified the issue to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). We accepted the certification on September 2, and on September 3 we heard oral argument. After time allotted for additional briefing, a short delay caused by the recusal of two judges, and the observance of national and religious holidays, we reversed the disqualification by order dated September 22, with opinion to follow. This is that opinion.

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