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McKenzie Construction v. St. Croix Storage Corp.

961 F. Supp. 857 (1997)

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McKenzie Construction v. St. Croix Storage Corp.

United States District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands

961 F. Supp. 857 (1997)

Facts

McKenzie Construction (plaintiff), a lumber retailer, sued St. Croix Storage Corporation (defendant) for conversion of lumber. The court ordered the parties to mediate the matter and appointed attorney Lisa Moorehead as mediator. McKenzie claimed that all discussions during mediation occurred in a group setting and that no confidential information was exchanged. St. Croix, on the other hand, claimed that its representatives met with Moorehead privately as well as in a group setting and that its representatives shared confidential information with Moorehead. The parties did not reach a settlement during mediation and instead began preparing for trial. Moorehead subsequently joined Rohn & Cusick (firm), the law firm representing McKenzie. After the firm hired Moorehead, she met with a private investigator who had been hired on behalf of St. Croix to attempt to settle the case. Moorehead claimed that the purpose of the meeting was to warn the investigator that his attempts to settle the case with a represented party could lead to civil liability. St. Croix moved to disqualify both Moorehead and the firm from representing McKenzie. McKenzie opposed the motion, arguing that Moorehead had not been privy to confidential information when she served as mediator and that, regardless, the firm had established a cone of silence around Moorehead, preventing her from revealing any confidential information to the attorneys assigned to represent McKenzie.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Resnick, J.)

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