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Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC

927 F. Supp. 2d 390 (2013)

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Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

927 F. Supp. 2d 390 (2013)

Facts

Global dermatological-products manufacturer Galderma Laboratories L.P. (Galderma) (plaintiff) retained international law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP (V&E) in employment and benefits matters beginning in 2003. Galderma’s general counsel Quinton Cassady signed V&E’s engagement letter, which included a broad, general waiver of future conflicts. The waiver explained Galderma could choose other counsel and that V&E could not represent clients adverse to Galderma in substantially related matters or if confidential information from Galderma could be used against Galderma. The waiver reiterated that Galderma consented to V&E representing clients adverse to Galderma in unrelated matters. Galderma had an internal legal department but frequently used outside law firms in multiple lawsuits pending across the country. Cassady had decades of experience, including 10 as Galderma’s general counsel, and had signed similar conflict waivers retaining other law firms. In 2012, Galderma filed an intellectual-property lawsuit against generic-pharmaceutical manufacturer Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC (Actavis) (defendant), which V&E had represented in intellectual-property matters for six years. When V&E filed an answer and counterclaims, Galderma asked V&E to withdraw from representing Actavis. Instead V&E terminated its relationship with Galderma and refused to withdraw from representing Actavis, claiming Galderma had consented to V&E representing adverse clients. Galderma moved to disqualify V&E, arguing Galderma had not given informed consent because the waiver did not specify exactly which future conflicts Galderma waived.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kinkeade, J.)

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