California Court of Appeal

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Kirk v. First Am. Title Ins. Co., B218956

In an action alleging violations of consumer protection laws by title insurers, the trial court's order disqualifying a law firm on the defense side is reversed where, in the circumstances of the case, automatic vicarious disqualification is not required, and instead, there was a rebuttable presumption that a disqualified attorney's knowledge of client confidences was imputed to the firm, which could be refuted by evidence that the law firm adequately screened the attorney from the others at the firm representing the adverse party.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 04/07/2010
  • Published 04/07/2010




  • California Court of Appeal


  • For Appellant:
  • Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis and Marvin E. Garrett; Best Best & Kreiger and Robert J. Hanna; Bingham McCutchen and Michael J. Plishner; Boies, Schiller & Flexner and David W. Shapiro; Cooley Godward Kronish and Ann M. Mooney; DLA Piper, William S. Boggs and Stanley J. Panikowski; Dykema Gossett and Alex W. Craigie; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Dean Kitchens and Robert E. Palmer; Gotshal & Manges and Jason D. Kipnis; Greenberg Traurig and Frank E. Merideth, Jr.; Jones Day and Elwood Lui; K & L Gates and Paul W. Sweeney, Jr., Latham & Watkins and Robert J. Malionek; Mayer Brown and Neil M. Soltman; Morrison & Foerster and Douglas L. Hendricks; O'Melveny & Myers and Marvin S. Checov; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Lawrence B. Low; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker and Geoffrey L. Thomas; Perkins Coie and Dan L. Bagatell; Pillsbury WinthropShaw Pittman and Ronald E. Van Buskirk; Reed Smith and Margaret M. Grignon; Schiff Hardin and Eliot S. Jubelirer; Sidley Austin and Mark E. Haddad; Weil, King & Spalding and David F. Zimmer, Jr.; attorneys for Amici In Support of Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Horvitz & Levy, David M. Axelrad and Lisa Perrochet; Haight Brown & Bonesteel, Peter Q. Ezzell and Nancy E. Lucas for Defendants and Appellants, The First American Corporation; First American Title Insurance Company, First American Title Company and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal., The Bernheim Law Firm, Bernie Bernheim, Nazo S. Semerdjian and Wilson K. Park; The Kick Law Firm, Taras Kick, Matthew Hess and Thomas Segal for Plaintiffs and Respondents, Patrick Kirk, Jeffrey Sjobring, Wendy Kaufman, Elizabeth Wilmot and Jason Munro., Hinshaw & Culbertson, Ronald E. Mallen and Kara Farmer, attorneys for Amici In Support of Respondents.
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