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Pro Res Restrictions on Rights to Practice

Terms in this set (16)

An attorney represents a large corporate defendant in a tort action over a defective product line. The current action in the first of what may be many such lawsuits, but the problems with its product line have not received any media attention yet, so the company decides to settle the matter quietly. Recognizing that he has a duty to protect the legal interests of his client, the attorney asks for three conditions in the settlement. First the plaintiff agrees to a wavier and release of this and any other claims arising out of the use of this product, at least up to that time. Second, the plaintiff and the attorney must agree not to disclose the settlement amount to anyone. Third, the plaintiff's lawyer must agree not to use any information learned int he current representation in any future representation against the corporate defendant, whether in litigation or transactional matters. The attorney recognizes that there can be no restrictions placed on the lawyers right to practice law, so he does not ask the lawyer to refrain from representing other plaintiffs against the corporation, but only that the information from this case not carry over into other unrelated cases. The attorney also points out to opposing counsel that the conflict of interest rules would already prohibit the attorney from using any information learned in a representation against the client. Simialarly, the confidentiality rule forbids the disclosure (without the client's consent) of confidential information learned form any source during the representation. Thus, the condition in the settlement overlaps with other disclosure restraints that the Model Rules impose on the other lawyer. Opposing counsel is a notorious plaintiff's lawyer in that region, receiving frequent reprimand for ethical violations from the state bar. The lawyer has a reputation for bringing up irrelevant but inflammatory evidence from other cases in his trials, telling the jury, "You wouldn't believe what this same company did to my other client!" It seemed appropriate, therefore, to the attorney for this defendant to ask for settlement conditions that recognize this lawyer's previous bad behavior. Is the attorney correct?