St. Denis & Davey, P.A.

Legal Malpractice Issues

Jury agrees that multinational law firm acted negligently

| Mar 9, 2020 | Legal Malpractice Law |

Business-related litigation can become complicated quickly for companies and law firms in Florida if conflicts of interest arise. A dispute between Dentons, a multinational law firm, and its former client, RevoLaze, culminated in a $32.3 million jury verdict against the legal provider. After the verdict, Dentons issued a public statement that declared its intention to appeal the verdict based on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision to vacate a ruling by an administrative law judge that resulted in the dispute with RevoLaze.

Dentons functions as a multinational law firm through what is called a verein structure that forms associations with local firms instead of formal business mergers. This structure prompted the ITC administrative law judge to rule that Dentons could not represent RevoLaze in a patent infringement lawsuit because it had already represented one of the denim retailers targeted by the RevoLaze lawsuit. The Canadian branch of Dentons had worked for the denim retailer whereas the U.S. branch was representing RevoLaze. The ITC ruling rejected the position of Dentons that the Canadian and U.S. branches were separate entities.

After losing representation by Dentons, RevoLaze was then forced to acquire legal counsel at a higher cost than what Dentons had agreed to provide. Due to the higher legal expenses, RevoLaze argued later in court that the failure of Dentons to detect the conflict of interest caused it to settle the patent infringement case for a lower than expected amount to avoid legal bills.

People rely on a law firm’s judgment to avoid conflicts of interest that jeopardize the value of their legal cases. Someone who believes that a lawyer or firm acted negligently could ask an attorney to clarify issues regarding legal malpractice law. An attorney’s case evaluation might pave the way to holding a professional company accountable for costly mistakes.