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Armstrong v. McAlpin

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
625 F.2d 433 (1980)


The federal district court entered default judgment against McAlpin (defendant) in a suit prosecuted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The court appointed Armstrong (plaintiff) as receiver for the companies involved in the litigation, and the SEC gave Armstrong its case files. Armstrong hired the Gordon Hurwitz law firm to serve as counsel to the receiver. During the course of litigation, Altman, a lawyer who had supervised various SEC cases, including the case against McAlpin, joined the Gordon Hurwitz firm. Even though Altman had not been directly involved in the SEC suit against McAlpin, Gordon Hurwitz sequestered Altman from engaging in its representation of Armstrong. Nonetheless, after Armstrong began proceedings to recover assets of the concerned companies, McAlpin and other defendants moved to disqualify the Gordon Hurwitz firm entirely. The district court denied the disqualification motion, and McAlpin appealed. A panel decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the district court decision. Armstrong petitioned for en banc review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Feinberg, J.)

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