Professional Responsibility Keyed to Hazard
Fassihi v. Sommers, Schwartz, Silver, Schwartz and Tyler, P.C.
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Doctors Fassihi (Plaintiff) and Lopez, radiologists and equal shareholders in a professional medical corporation, were also on the staff of St. Mary’s Hospital. The law firm of Sommers, Schwartz, Silver, Schwartz and Tyler, P.C. (Sommers) (Defendant) represented the corporation. Sommers (Defendant) never disclosed to Fassihi (Plaintiff) that it also represented Lopez individually or that Lopez’s agreement with the hospital gave him personal and sole responsibility for the radiology department. Approximately eighteen months after they formed the corporation, Lopez arranged to terminate, with Sommers’s (Defendant) help, Fassihi’s (Plaintiff) interest in the corporation, at which time the hospital informed Plaintiff that he could no longer practice there. In the lawsuit that followed, Plaintiff claimed that Defendant had represented both Lopez individually and the professional corporation without telling him and that he, Plaintiff, had an attorney-client relationship that Defendant had breached. The court denied both Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery when Epstein, an attorney with Sommers (Defendant), claimed attorney-client privilege. The court then granted leave for these interlocutory appeals
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