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United States v. O’Hagan
Citation:521 U.S. 642 (1997)
Respondent James Herman O’Hagan was a partner in the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney in Minnesota. In July 1988, Grand Metropolitan PLC, a company based in London, retained Dorsey & Whitney as local counsel to represent Grand Met regarding a potential tender offer for the common stock of the Pillsbury Company. The Securities and Exchange Commission initiated an investigation into O’Hagan’s transactions. The indictment alleged that O’Hagan defrauded his law firm and its client, Grand Met, by using for his own trading purposes material, nonpublic information regarding Grand Met’s planned tender offer. According to the indictment, O’Hagan used the profits he gained through this trading to conceal his previous embezzlement and conversion of unrelated client trust funds. The parties dispute over the question where the misappropriation theory has been properly applied here to assess the lawfulness of O’Hagan’s conduct.
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