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Cinema 5, Ltd. v. Cinerama, Inc.

528 F.2d 1384 (1976)

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Cinema 5, Ltd. v. Cinerama, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

528 F.2d 1384 (1976)

Facts

Attorney Manly Fleischmann was a partner in both an upstate New York law firm and one in New York City. The upstate firm defended Cinerama, Inc., and other large movie-distributor and theater-chain operators (defendants) against two anti-trust lawsuits that local upstate theater operators brought alleging the large chains monopolized films. While the lawsuits remained pending, Cinema 5, Ltd. (plaintiff) hired Fleischmann’s other firm to sue the same large theater chains for allegedly conspiring to take over Cinema 5 through stock acquisitions and create a monopoly in the New York City market. Cinerama did not consent to Fleischmann or his other firm representing Cinema 5 and moved to disqualify the entire firm. The judge found a sufficient relationship between the two firms and controversies to inhibit future confidential communications between Cinerama and its attorneys and that the conflict required disqualification to avoid the appearance of professional impropriety. Cinema 5 appealed, arguing that the upstate anti-trust litigation lacked a substantial relationship to the New York City hostile-takeover action that would warrant disqualification.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Van Graafeiland, J.)

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