A state trial judge has disqualified Dallas-based Bickel & Brewer from representing a plaintiff in a high-stakes lawsuit over mining technology. 

Texas State Civil District Court Judge Carlos Cortez of Dallas on November 28 found that Bickel & Brewer, while representing plaintiff RSR Corp., obtained confidential information about the defendant, Chilean-based Inppamet Ltd., through the law firm’s relationship with its co-counsel in Chile.

The judge, in a 26-page decision, determined that Chilean law firm Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana had hired a former executive of defendant Inppamet as a consultant—a relationship that Bickel & Brewer knew about. The judge also found that Bickel & Brewer had met with the consultant and had obtained privileged information about Inppamet from him.

“There is, without question, a ‘genuine threat’ that [Bofill Mir] disclosed Inppamet’s confidential information to Bickel & Brewer,” Cortez wrote. “Accordingly, disqualification is required.”

The judge stopped short of sanctioning Bickel & Brewer, as requested by defense counsel Michael Lynn of Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox in Dallas.

RSR Corp. sued Inppamet in 2008, alleging breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims. The action, which demands at least $60 million in damages, involves anode technology used in the mining of zinc, copper and other metals.

Bickel & Brewer attorney James Renard issued a statement through a spokesman: “We disagree with Judge Cortez’s order, and our clients will pursue appropriate relief in the Court of Appeals.”

Lynn, the attorney for Inppamet, declined to comment.

Contact Leigh Jones at ljones@alm.com.