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Goldberg v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

125 Cal.App.4th 752 (2005)

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Goldberg v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

California Court of Appeal

125 Cal.App.4th 752 (2005)

Facts

Irene Goldberg (plaintiff) asked attorney J. Eugene Salomon to advise her with respect to a written employment agreement that Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. (Warner) (defendant) gave her to sign. Salomon was a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, LLP (MS&K), which had begun work on a copyright matter for Warner shortly before Goldberg met with Salomon to discuss her agreement. Goldberg purportedly gave Salomon confidential information about her employment with Warner and discussed the agreement with him several times. Goldberg asked him to bill her for his advice, but Salomon refused to do so. Goldberg later retained MS&K to work on other matters for Warner that did not conflict with the firm previously representing her. Salomon subsequently left MS&K. Three years later, Goldberg sued Warner for wrongful termination and moved to disqualify MS&K from representing Warner. Salomon admitted he discussed Goldberg’s employment agreement with her but said he never told any other MS&K lawyer what they discussed. The trial court found no need to vicariously disqualify the firm after Salomon had left. Specifically, the court found no evidence that Salomon had talked to anyone at MS&K about Goldberg’s matter while at the firm, and his leaving three years before she sued eliminated any concern that he would share confidences now. Goldberg appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Curry, J.)

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