Sealed Party v. Sealed Party
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
2006 WL 1207732 (2006)
An attorney (defendant) filed an action against a company on behalf of a client (plaintiff). The associate working on the matter became the client’s primary contact. When the attorney and his partner dissolved their partnership, the associate joined the partner’s firm, and the client chose that firm as counsel. The associate and the Louisiana lawyer who had referred the client represented the client in mediating and settling the case. The settlement agreement included a confidentiality provision prohibiting the disclosure of settlement-related information. The day the agreement was signed, the associate left the attorney a message that the case had been settled and the company had required strict confidentiality terms. Five months later, a press release drafted by the attorney without the client’s consent was published on the Internet and in other news sources. The press release included the client’s name, the fact that the attorney filed the lawsuit, the claims asserted against the company, the fact that the parties settled, and the client’s views of his relationship with the company and the settlement. The company sued the client and the attorney and his law firm for violating the settlement agreement’s confidentiality provision. The client crossclaimed against the attorney and his firm (defendant), alleging that the attorney breached his fiduciary duty to the client by issuing the press release. The crossclaim was tried before the court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Atlas, J.)
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