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April 22, 2009 1:03 PM

Circuit Court Nixes Dorsey Reprimand

Posted by Brian Baxter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed nonmonetary sanctions for discovery misconduct against Dorsey & Whitney and IP partner Marc Reiner on Tuesday, reports the New York Law Journal, an Am Law Daily sibling publication.

But the three-judge panel upheld reprimands against former Dorsey partner Kristan Peters, agreeing with the district court's finding that there was "abundant evidence of her misconduct."

Peters served as lead counsel to Wolters Kluwer Financial Services in 2007 in a suit against four former employees filed in federal court in Manhattan. The suit accused the employees of taking proprietary information from Wolters Kluwer and passing it on to their new employer, Scivantage, a Jersey City, N.J.-based financial services firm.

U.S. district court judge Harold Baer ordered that certain confidential materials not be used in any other pending litigation. But when Peters asked Reiner to seek voluntary dismissal of the New York suit, she didn't return confidential discovery material until two weeks later, the NYLJ reports.

At the same time, Peters filed for temporary injunctive relief in Massachusetts, including 115 pages of the confidential material subject to Judge Baer's order in New York. The defendants in the case moved for sanctions, but later dropped the matter after settling the case.

But Judge Baer wasn't ready to let it go, slapping Peters, Reiner, and their firm with sanctions for discovery misconduct. Almost a year ago this month, Peters was suspended on an interim basis by the Southern District of New York's grievance committee after Baer issued his 129-page sanction order the previous November.

Peters, who was previously a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Fulbright & Jaworski, left Dorsey in June 2007. The NYLJ reports that she has maintained her own small practice in New York and Connecticut since then.

Lankler Siffert & Wohl name partner Frank Wohl represented Dorsey, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler partner Frederick Warder III represented Reiner, and Collazo Carling & Mish's Francis Carling represented Peters during proceedings.

The NYLJ reports that the Second Circuit's decision will be published next week. Head over to the NYLJ for a more thorough analysis of the appellate court's decision.

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