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June 16, 2010 12:26 PM

Judge Refuses to Toss Fraud Charges Against Quinn Emanuel Over Legal Fees

Posted by Ed Shanahan

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan suffered a big setback in its battle with a former client Tuesday when a California state judge refused to dismiss fraud claims against the firm over $15 million in legal fees, according to sibling publication The Recorder.

The Recorder reports that GPS company Tele Atlas sued the firm for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, overcharging, and legal malpractice in February 2009, alleging that Quinn Emanuel underestimated the costs it would incur in an antitrust case against rival Navteq that settled the year before. Tele Atlas claims Quinn Emanuel incorrectly advised the company that it could recover its fees and costs, and that its estimated legal bill would come in at $4 to $5 million. In the end, Quinn racked up a $15 million tab. The company also alleges that the firm reneged on a promise that name partner John Quinn would handle the case by assigning another attorney to work on the matter "because he had little or no other work."

On Tuesday, San Francisco Superior Court judge Peter Busch denied most of Quinn Emanuel's motion for summary judgment, concluding that there was evidence that firm partner David Eisman had told Tele Atlas that its fees were recoverable. The judge brushed aside Quinn Emanuel partner Terry Wit's argument that the firm had told Tele Atlas that its damages claims were weak, according the The Recorder. "Damages and attorneys' fees are different," Judge Busch reportedly said.

According to The Recorder, Quinn Emanuel claims that Tele Atlas still owes the firm $2 million. "The dispute is really over the outstanding bills," partner Christopher Tayback told the paper.

Tele Atlas is represented by King & Kelleher's Edward King, Jr., and James Wallace of Wiley Rein, according to The Recorder. The court docket lists Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Frederick Brown as counsel for Quinn Emanuel.

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