A state trial judge has disqualified Dallas-based Bickel & Brewer from representing a plaintiff in a high-stakes suit over mining technology.
Judge Carlos Cortez of the 44th District Court in Dallas found on Nov. 28 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, declines comment.