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Qualcomm Inc. has dropped the Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder firm from a patent infringement dispute against Nokia in San Diego. It’s the second time mobile-phone chip giant Qualcomm has dropped Day Casebeer since both the company and the Cupertino firm admitted in the spring to committing a massive discovery breach in a patent case against Broadcom Corp. A federal magistrate judge will hear testimony next month from attorneys involved in that gaffe and will decide whether to impose formal sanctions. Qualcomm replaced Day Casebeer in the Broadcom case with DLA Piper � which already did corporate work for the company � a few months ago. And on Sept. 11 Cooley Godward Kronish supplanted Day Casebeer’s Lloyd “Rusty” Day Jr. and James Batchelder in Qualcomm’s case against Nokia, according to court documents. Both lawsuits are in federal court in San Diego. Qualcomm did not state a reason in court papers as to why it ended its relationship with Day Casebeer in the case against Nokia. But La Jolla-based attorney Mark Fabiani, hired by the firm a few weeks ago to handle press calls, said in an e-mail to The Recorder that the substitution of counsel came at the request of Day Casebeer. “The firm felt that, while a sanctions motion was pending against Qualcomm in a case involving the firm, Qualcomm’s best interests were served by the substitution of new counsel in the Nokia matter.” Fabiani’s statement did not address how Day Casebeer’s business would be affected by the two recently severed relationships with Qualcomm, one of the firm’s major clients. Fabiani, known as a “master of disaster” in political and media spheres for his expertise in guiding public figures through difficult times, has served as a spokesman for the Clinton administration, for Al Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign, and for former Gov. Gray Davis just before his recall. The fact that Cooley was hired for the Nokia litigation could indicate that Qualcomm’s interim general counsel, Carol Lam, has not wavered from the outside-firm choices of her predecessor, Louis Lupin. Lupin was a Cooley partner before joining Qualcomm in 1995, and hired the firm to handle several patent litigation disputes for the company over the years. The Day Casebeer firm, which was started in Cupertino in 1998 by Day, Batchelder and six other former Cooley lawyers, has also represented Qualcomm in numerous patent disputes. In the wake of several litigation setbacks, Qualcomm announced Lupin was leaving the company last month for personal reasons. In April, he and Batchelder personally wrote letters to the court apologizing for somehow overlooking relevant documents that should have been handed over to Broadcom before trial. Neither Lupin nor Lam returned calls requesting comment this week. Broadcom won at trial in January. Then, on Aug. 9, federal Judge Rudi Brewster found Qualcomm and its attorneys had committed “gross” misconduct and ordered them to pay all of Broadcom’s legal fees, which that company says could total more than $8.5 million. The hearing on formal sanctions has been set for Oct. 12. Day Casebeer’s other large clients include Sun Microsystems Inc. and Amgen Inc., according to its Web site. Neither company has filed any federal court papers indicating they have changed their relationship with the firm.

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