Is it possible to interfere with a case once it has already been settled? Bethesda, Md., solo practitioner Joel Joseph thinks not, and he has $1 million riding on whether a federal appeals court agrees.

In 2001, Joseph sued his former law firm, Washington, D.C.’s Cuneo Law Group, for allegedly breaching his employment contract, and negotiated a fairly significant settlement. Specifically, he would get 20 percent of any fees that the firm, which has since changed its name to Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, earned in three pending class action cases. The catch: He had to keep his distance — no interfering with the litigation or corresponding with the litigants.

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