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Western Sugar Coop. v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.

United States District Court for the Central District of California
98 F. Supp. 3d 1074 (2015)


Facts

In 2011, Western Sugar Cooperative and others in the sugar industry (Western Sugar) (plaintiffs) hired Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP to file a false advertising suit against members of the corn industry, including Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas Inc. and Ingredion Inc. (defendants). The suit alleged that the defendants falsely advertised high-fructose corn syrup products. Tate & Lyle had long been represented by Patton Boggs LLP. In 1998, when Tate & Lyle hired Patton Boggs, it signed a general advanced waiver. The waiver stated that Patton Boggs could represent other clients on matters adverse to Tate & Lyle so long as those matters were unrelated to the work Patton Boggs did for Tate & Lyle. Ingredion first hired Patton Boggs in 2004 to represent it in connection with federal regulation of its advertising of high-fructose corn syrup products. While not continuous, Patton Boggs’s representation of Ingredion was on an as-needed basis, and Patton Boggs last performed work for Ingredion in 2013. Under the terms of Ingredion’s agreement with Patton Boggs, the representation ended in 2013. In 2014, Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders agreed to merge, forming Squire Patton Boggs LLP (SPB). Tate & Lyle declined to waive the conflict of SPB’s continued representation of Tate & Lyle and Western Sugar simultaneously. Tate & Lyle and Ingredion moved to disqualify SPB from the false advertising suit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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