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A partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld tried to have it both ways by representing a technology company and then its foe in a legal battle, according to a lawsuit filed in North Carolina federal court. SAS Institute, a Cary, N.C., software company, claims that attorney Michael Kiklis and Akin Gump committed fraud and breached an engagement letter by failing to inform SAS that the law firm was representing an adversary. The lawsuit claims that Kiklis obtained SAS’s permission to “close the file” on SAS patent work without notifying it that he planned to file a lawsuit against it on behalf of another client, Juxtacomm, the following day. Kiklis worked at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal when he began representing SAS in 2004, according to the complaint. He joined Akin Gump’s Washington office in June 2007. Akin Gump General Counsel Barry Chasnoff said Friday that Kiklis worked “a total of 2.4 hours” for SAS and that the firm appropriately closed the client’s file before it filed the subsequent lawsuit. “This one’s easy,” Chasnoff said. “It’s without merit.” The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleges that Kiklis represented Juxtacomm, which sued several software companies, excluding SAS, for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2007. Kiklis, according to the complaint, assured SAS at the time that it was not a defendant. On Nov. 6, 2009, SAS consented to closing its file with the law firm. What SAS didn’t know, it asserts, was that Juxtacomm planned to file a motion to dismiss the 2007 lawsuit the following day and filed a nearly identical one in January naming SAS as a defendant. SAS Institute’s lawsuit does not specify damages. It seeks a constructive trust, actual damages and punitive damages. Representing SAS is Camden R. Webb, a partner in the Raleigh, N.C., office of Williams Mullen.

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