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Although defunct and indebted, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison found a firm willing to represent it, at least temporarily, in litigation over its hiring of two lateral partners in 1995. Morgenstein & Jubelirer filed a motion with Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to vacate or extend the April 8 trial date in the suit filed by the now-defunct Santa Monica firm Dickson, Carlson & Campillo against Brobeck and the two partners. The court will hear arguments on the motion Tuesday. John Worden, a partner at Morgenstein & Jubelirer, said his firm had agreed to temporarily represent Brobeck to file for the extension. “How long we will [represent the firm] hasn’t been decided,” Worden said. Worden said it’s “not completely determined” how his firm will be paid given that Brobeck dissolved last month. Morgenstein & Jubelirer has worked with Brobeck over the last 20 years and served as co-counsel in asbestos defense litigation. The litigation with Dickson, Carlson arose when Debra Pole and William Fitzgerald left the firm for Brobeck. Dickson, Carlson filed suit against their former colleagues for breach of fiduciary duty and demanded about $32 million in fees from unfinished business the two took with them to Brobeck. The firm is also suing Brobeck for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, interference with contractual relations and unfair competition. Keker & Van Nest had represented Brobeck, Pole and Fitzgerald, but on March 4 the court granted the firm’s motion to withdraw as their counsel. Keker said a conflict had arisen as a result of Brobeck’s dissolution last month. The firm also noted in court papers that Brobeck owes it slightly more than $300,000. Morgenstein & Jubelirer, a 35-lawyer business litigation firm, said Brobeck needs time to find counsel. “Just reading the documents alone would take an army of lawyers weeks,” the firm wrote in its motion, noting that there are approximately 1,000 exhibits, 45 volumes of depositions and more than 30 witnesses. But Dickson, Carlson attorney Brian Lysaght, of Santa Monica’s O’Neill, Lysaght & Sun, said the case has dragged on long enough, and there are other lawyers who have been involved in the case over the years to step into the breach. “They’re hoping all the plaintiffs will expire of old age and that [co-counsel] Paul Murphy and I will as well and the case will go to the grave with us all,” Lysaght said. Meanwhile, as Brobeck sought to extend the trial date, lawyers that were at one time involved as defense counsel filed motions with the court saying they had no responsibility for the case. John McDermott, a partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & White, told the court that he represented Pole and Fitzgerald from 1995 to 1998 and has not been involved since. He requested that his name be removed from the service list in the case. Alternatively, he asked that Howrey’s name be removed as well. Howrey’s name appeared on the list of counsel to defendants in 1997 when McDermott joined the firm. Brobeck partner John Wasilczyk, who joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius after Brobeck disbanded, also filed a declaration with the court. He said he had served as co-counsel for Brobeck in the litigation through 1996, but had no involvement with the case after that and for health reasons could not step in now to try the case.

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