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Wiley Rein has filed a motion to dismiss the $30 million legal malpractice lawsuit that Blackwater Security Consulting brought against the firm in late January in D.C. Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that if Wiley Rein and former partner Margaret Ryan, who is also named in the suit, had cited the federal officer removal statute and appropriate case precedent when defending the private security contractor in a 2005 wrongful-death suit, the case would have remained in federal court and eventually been thrown out. Instead, the case was remanded to the Superior Court of Wake County in North Carolina and is currently in arbitration. According to Wiley Rein’s motion to dismiss, filed with Judge Judith Retchin last week by the firm’s attorneys — Zuckerman Spaeder partners Mark Foster and Elizabeth Taylor — the federal officer removal statute doesn’t apply. The motion argues that Blackwater wasn’t even working for the U.S. military when its four employees were killed in Fallujah, Iraq, but rather was independently handling security for a catering contractor. “Wiley Rein clearly was not negligent, nor was Blackwater harmed, by Wiley Rein’s failure to make an argument that was legally unsupportable,” the motion says. The response also calls Blackwater’s allegation that the wrongful-death suit would have been dismissed if left in federal court “sheer speculation.” Neither Foster nor Taylor would comment on the ongoing proceedings, and Blackwater’s attorney Barry Nace, name partner at D.C.’s Paulson & Nace, did not return a call for comment.
Attila Berry can be contacted at aberry@alm.com.

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