Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Diamond v. Hogan Lovells US LLP

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

February 20, 2020, Resubmitted, San Francisco, California; February 27, 2020, Filed

No. 15-16326, No. 15-16327, No. 15-16328, No. 15-16329, No. 15-16330, No. 15-16331, No. 15-16332, No. 15-16333

Opinion

 [*1201]  ORDER

In our prior Order Certifying Questions to the District of Columbia Court, we certified the following questions to the District of Columbia [**4]  Court of Appeals, by this language:

Pursuant to D.C. Code § 11-723 we respectfully ask the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to resolve three questions of District of Columbia law that "may be determinative" of this bankruptcy appeal. D.C. Code § 11-723(a):

(1) Under District of Columbia law does a dissociated partner owe a duty to his or her former law firm to account for profits earned post-departure on legal matters that were in progress but not completed at the time of the partner's departure, where the partner's former law firm had been hired  [*1202]  to handle those matters on an hourly basis and where those matters were completed at another firm that hired the partner?

(2) If the answer to question (1) is "yes," then does District of Columbia law allow a partner's former law firm to recover those profits from the partner's new law firm under an unjust enrichment theory?

(3) Under District of Columbia law what interest, if any, does a dissolved law firm have in profits earned on legal matters that were in progress but not completed at the time the law firm was dissolved, where the dissolved law firm had been retained to handle the matters on an hourly basis, and where those matters were completed at different pre-existing [**5]  firms that hired partners of the dissolved firm post-dissolution?

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals accepted our certified questions and held oral argument on them. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has now answered our certified questions. The court's short answers were:

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

950 F.3d 1200 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 6277 **; 68 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 120

ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SEYFARTH SHAW LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PERKINS COIE LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. NEAL, GERBER & EISENBERG LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. KASOWITZ BENSON TORRES LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SHEPPARD MULLIN RICHTER & HAMPTON LLP, Defendant-Appellee.ALLAN B. DIAMOND, Chapter 7 Trustee of the Estate of Howrey LLP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. JONES DAY, Defendant-Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court. for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04882-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04883-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04884-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04885-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04886-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04887-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04888-JD, D.C. No. 3:14-cv-04889-JD. James Donato, District Judge, Presiding. Argued and Submitted November 16, 2017. Submission Withdrawn February 27, 2018.

Hogan Lovells US LLP v. Howrey LLP, 531 B.R. 814, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71907 (N.D. Cal., June 3, 2015)

CORE TERMS

law firm, questions, partner, dissociated, dissolved, matters, profits, answers, client matter, former law, hourly-billed, dissolution, partnership, hired, hourly basis, legal matter, limited duty, perform work, for profit, winding up, progress, handle, leaves