Judge Shirley Kornreich

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Mayers moved to disqualify law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP from representing defendants in this action in which Mayers challenged his termination for cause from Stone Castle Partners. Mayers called a Quinn attorney, Pickhardt, who had expertise with collateralized debt obligations, seeking his representation in a litigation against Tropic CDO IV trustee. Mayers claimed he spoke with Pickhardt for up to an hour, but representation was declined due to a conflict of interest. Pickhardt subsequently discussed the call with Stone’s lead counsel, Reed. Mayers alleged this discussion with Reed was improper and warranted disqualification. Quinn argued Mayers’ disqualification motion was gamesmanship designed to delay the case and deprive Stone of Quinn’s representation. The court stated disqualification was warranted when an attorney violated his fiduciary obligation to preserve the confidential secrets of prospective clients under Rule 1.18 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. Thus, it concluded Quinn’s use of Pickhardt’s discussion with Mayers within Stone’s complaint mandated disqualification regardless of any actual detriment suffered from the violation, granting Mayers’ motion.

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