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FL Judge Throws Boies Schiller Off a Case, and More
Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 04:05 PM EDT

Law.com has the news. Remember the Florida case, where Boies Schiller undertook to represent a woman who became the firm's Chief Financial Officer, Amy Habie? On the other side, for years, has been a pro se litigant, Scott Lewis, a gardener. Boies Schiller, according to the judge, has a conflict in representing Habie and her company, which is limiting its independent professional judgment. He has barred the firm from further representation of Ms. Habie and her gardening company, Nical.

And that's not all:

Gerber also found Nical in contempt of court for violating court orders, and that H. Stephen Rash, an attorney at Boies Schiller & Flexner in Miami, was the company's "agent" in violating the orders. He ordered Bilton [Patrick Bilton, Habie's partner in the company] to serve 30 days in jail for contempt and to pay a $500 fine. Gerber found that Rash and Nical breached orders by issuing subpoenas for witnesses without the permission of the court and by failing to notify Lewis about the scheduling of depositions.

Boies, the article says, didn't charge fees. Instead he took a 25% interest in Habie's business, in trust for his children:

In a deposition, Habie said that she had accepted $100,000 for the 25 percent stake.

In all, the Boies firm's representation of Habie and Nical has totaled over $5 million in gifted services, according to an accountant Lewis deposed as an expert witness.

Habie's professional relationship with Boies began in 1992, when her divorce lawyer, a law school acquaintance of Boies, asked Boies to help in a custody battle Habie was waging with her ex-husband, Guatamelan textile executive Jose Habie. In 2000, Habie became the chief financial officer of Boies' law firm. According to court documents, her current salary from the law firm is $160,000 a year plus bonus and benefits.

According to court papers, Boies' law firm and a total of 75 lawyers from 10 other law firms have provided more than 15,000 pro bono hours in the case representing Nical and Habie. He's never publicly explained why he and his firm represented Habie and her company without charging fees.

The judge in his decision cited a Florida Bar rule that says "a lawyer shall not represent a client if the lawyer's exercise of independent professional judgment in the representation of that client may be materially limited by ... the lawyer's own interest."

The Palm Beach Daily News has more detail on the case here:

In addition, Gerber the ninth judge in the case ordered high-profile attorney David Boies' law firm dismissed from the case for issuing subpoenas without court approval. The ruling says that attorney H. Stephen Rash of Boies, Schiller & Flexner "intentionally violated this court's predecessors' orders."

Nine judges in nine years. And you thought SCO v. IBM was taking a long time. Can you imagine intentionally violating a court order? A spokesman for Boies Schiller is quoted as saying the subpoena business was an "oversight". This judge obviously didn't think so. The decision is being appealed. You might also like to read Forbes' article on Boies and the AIG case.


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