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Former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partner Debra Pole could face a tougher court battle now that longtime colleague William Fitzgerald has reached a settlement with their old firm. Earlier this week Fitzgerald was removed as a defendant in the breach-of-contract suit brought by the now-defunct Santa Monica firm Dickson, Carlson & Campillo when the two defected to Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in 1995. Dickson, Carlson partners claim Pole and Fitzgerald shared proprietary information with Brobeck that enabled the firm to capture business from Dickson, Carlson’s top client, Baxter Healthcare Corp. Fitzgerald’s attorney, Larry Feldman of Santa Monica’s Fogel, Feldman, Ostrov, Ringler & Klevens, finalized a settlement one week after a jury trial began in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Malibu. Keker & Van Nest had represented all three defendants — Pole, Fitzgerald and Brobeck — in Dickson, Carlson & Campillo v. Pole, SC039135 and SC39264. But the firm withdrew from the case in March saying conflicts had arisen following Brobeck’s dissolution in February. Fitzgerald has held a secondary role in the case. Pole was the national coordinating and trial counsel for Baxter’s silicone breast implant litigation and thus the main hire for Brobeck. Fitzgerald worked with her. Dickson, Carlson partners are seeking more than $30 million in the tort phase of the trial. That’s on top of $32 million that they sought in the first phase of the litigation, which addressed unfinished business the partners took with them to Brobeck. It’s unclear whether Fitzgerald, who had been called as a witness for the plaintiffs before his settlement was reached, will provide damaging testimony against Pole. Pole’s attorney, former Brobeck partner David Schrader, is now a Los Angeles solo. Following Brobeck’s dissolution, Pole joined the Los Angeles office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood. Feldman, Schrader and Brobeck’s attorney Elliot Jubelirer, of Morgenstein & Jubelirer, could not be reached for comment on the case Thursday.

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