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We don’t envy the lawyers from Jones Day and Dykema who’ll be appearing before Detroit federal district court judge Paul Borman next week. At a hearing set for Feb. 2, the lawyers will have to explain to an aggrieved judge why they seemingly didn’t want to travel to the Motor City in January for a hearing on a conflict issue. [Hat tip: Law 360.] Both firms represent Arctic Glacier and three of its former employees in an antitrust suit against packaged ice manufacturers. Earlier this month Judge Borman scheduled a hearing to consider whether the two firms’ joint representation of the company and the employees violated conflict rules. On Jan. 14, lawyers from Jones Day and Dykema asked the judge in this motion if they and their clients needed to appear in person. They also questioned the scope of his order to produce indemnification agreements between Arctic Glacier and the individual defendants. Big mistake. In an order to show cause issued Friday, Judge Borman blasted the firms for proposing that they and the defendants appear by telephone, or that three of the defendants be represented at the hearing by separate counsel. “No mystery here: present means physically present,” the judge wrote. He refused the firms’ requests to appear by phone, and to substitute counsel. In addition, he promised to consider Rule 11 sanctions against the firms for filing a frivolous motion. “This attempt by Jones Day and Dykema, to gut the Court¹s loud and clear Order of January 10, 2011, and thereby create a sham proceeding on February 2, 2011 by excluding the required parties and documents, will not abide!” Judge Borman wrote. Dykema’s Howard Iwrey declined to comment, other than to say he’d be present at the hearing next week. Paula Render of Jones Day, national counsel for Arctic Glacier, also declined to comment.

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