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In re John J. Carey

89 S.W.3d 477 (2002)

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In re John J. Carey

Missouri Supreme Court

89 S.W.3d 477 (2002)

Facts

Attorneys John Carey and Joseph Danis (respondents) worked for a firm that defended Chrysler Corporation against class-action lawsuits involving minivan-door latches. Cary and Danis helped formulate Chrysler’s defenses, negotiation strategies, and the “blueprint” Chrysler used to handle class actions. Chrysler used the same strategy to defend class actions driven by government investigations, regardless of the vehicle part involved. Carey and Danis had detailed internal information and analysis from Chrysler’s in-house legal department, interviewed and deposed numerous expert witnesses, and knew which experts Chrysler preferred to use. After leaving the firm, Carey and Danis represented a class-action claimant against Chrysler alleging the minivan’s antilock-braking system (ABS) was defective and shared information with other attorneys handling similar cases. The Missouri Disciplinary Counsel charged Carey and Danis with professional misconduct for representing someone adverse to a former client. Chrysler’s in-house attorneys testified that Carey and Danis gained confidential information in the door-latch cases that would be useful in prosecuting the ABS cases.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Price Jr., J.)

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