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A California appellate court has reversed a decision disqualifying lawyers at Nixon Peabody from a case where the firm briefly hired a lawyer who had worked for the other side.

A trial court judge in Orange Country last year found that Andrew Selesnick, who worked at Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office for about five weeks last year, worked for an opposing party while at a prior firm in a case Nixon Peabody was handling for California Self-Insurers’ Security Fund. Despite sworn statements from members of the San Francisco-based Nixon Peabody team working on the case stating that Selesnick hadn’t shared any confidential information, Orange County Superior Court Judge William Claster disqualified the firm last year, concluding that when an attorney switches sides in litigation, disqualification is mandatory and extends to the entire firm.

On Friday, the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that automatic disqualification wasn’t required in this instance and sent the matter back to the trial court to determine whether confidential information was transmitted to Nixon Peabody, or if there are other compelling reasons to disqualify the firm.

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Ross Todd

Ross Todd is the Editor/columnist for the Am Law Litigation Daily. He writes about litigation of all sorts. Previously, Ross was the Bureau Chief of The Recorder, ALM's California affiliate. Contact Ross at [email protected] On Twitter: @Ross_Todd.

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