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The $5 million malpractice case against star litigator Michele Roberts of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld will proceed to trial in D.C. Superior Court. In a hearing that lasted more than three hours on March 7, Judge Jennifer Anderson weighed motions to dismiss, as well as a host of other matters. In addition to Roberts, the defendants include solo practitioner Steven Kiersh, and Goodwin Procter, the firm that absorbed Shea & Gardner, where Roberts once practiced. A trial date was set for Nov. 3. The case stems from Roberts’ representation of Vaughn Stebbins in a 2001 civil case against the District and a Metropolitan Police Department officer. Stebbins claims Roberts botched his chance to recover damages for injuries he received after being shot by the police officer, and accuses Roberts of causing mishaps that led to the dismissal of his case. Roberts failed to formally withdraw her name from Stebbins’ case, even though Kiersh eventually took over the matter. On Friday, Anderson granted partial summary judgment to Goodwin Procter, ruling that the firm did not have an attorney-client relationship with Stebbins, since Roberts took his case when she still had her own firm, Rochon & Roberts. Anderson, though, denied Roberts’ and Kiersh’s motions to dismiss, with regard to their claims that Stebbins’ underlying excessive force case would have ultimately failed. At the hearing, Anthony Bisceglie of Bisceglie & Walsh represented Roberts, Ellen Renaud and Richard Swick of Swick & Shapiro repped Stebbins, John May of Jordan Coyne & Savits represented Kiersh, and Robert Watkins III, William Burke, and Christopher Hart of Williams & Connolly represented Goodwin Procter.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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