Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is battling with a former client, who claims the firm cost him an opportunity to have his challenge to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

James Pietrangelo II, a lawyer and former Army captain, filed a 23-count malpractice suit in July claiming the firm interfered with his petition to the high court by filing a brief urging the justices not to take the case. On Aug. 2, D.C. Superior Court Judge Thomas Motley pared Pietrangelo’s case back dramatically, saying that it was speculative for Pietrangelo to claim that the Supreme Court would have taken up his petition but for Wilmer’s alleged misconduct. Motley did allow three claims to move forward, including fraud and breach of contract, stemming from Pietrangelo’s allegation that Wilmer promised to inform him when — and if — the firm decided to file a cert petition with the Supreme Court on behalf of other plaintiffs in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” case.

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