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Nemours Foundation v. Gilbane

United States District Court for the District of Delaware
632 F.Supp. 418 (1986)


Facts

The Nemours Foundation (Nemours) (plaintiff) hired Gilbane Building Company (Gilbane) (defendant) to construct an addition to a Wilmington, Delaware, hospital. Gilbane sub-contracted with Pierce & Associates, Inc. (Pierce) (defendant) to handle a portion of the project and also contracted with a mechanical engineering firm, Furlow Associates, Inc. (Furlow) (defendant) to assist. After a disagreement arose between the parties, Nemours filed suit against Gilbane. Thereafter, Pierce and Furlow became involved in the suit and filed various counter-claims. During the pendency of the action, Nemours filed a motion to disqualify counsel for Pierce, the law firm of Biggs & Battaglia (Biggs), after it became known that a Biggs lawyer, Paul Bradley, had worked for Howard M. Berg & Associates (Berg), a law firm that had represented Furlow when the litigation first began and which was a co-defendant with Nemours at the time. In that role, Bradley prepared documents in an effort to reach a settlement and reviewed thousands of documents provided by Nemours. Bradley was subsequently removed from the case and became employed by Biggs. Bradley later stated that he had no way to determine if any conversation he had, or document he reviewed, while representing Furlow had been disclosed beyond the purview of the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine. Bradley did not know Biggs was involved in the present litigation until after he was hired. Biggs did not know of Bradley’s involvement in the litigation as counsel for Furlow until after he was employed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Farnan, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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