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M.A. Mobile Ltd., A Limited Liability v. Indian Institute of Technology

July 17, 2012

M.A. MOBILE LTD., A LIMITED LIABILITY
COMPANY CHARTERED IN DOMINICA; AND
MANDANA D. FARHANG,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
KHARAGPUR, AN INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED UNDER THE "INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY ACT, 1961"; TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRENEURSHIP AND TRAINING SOCIETY, AN INDIAN SOCIETY; PARTHA P. CHAKRABARTI; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ronald M. Whyte United States District Judge

United States District Court For the Northern District of California

ORDER GRANTING MOTION REQUIRING DEFENDANTS' COUNSEL TO COMPLY WITH SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 STIPULATION

[Re Docket No. 382]

Plaintiff Mandana D. Farhang ("plaintiff") filed the instant motion against defendant Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur ("IITK") and defendant's counsel, Orrick, Herrington & 23 Sutcliffe LLP, ("Orrick") seeking compliance with a stipulation requiring certain Orrick attorneys 24 to be separated by an ethical wall. The court has heard the arguments of the parties and considered 25 the papers submitted. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the motion. 26 27 28 3 of contract, fraud, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Dkt. No. 305, Ex. 1. Since 2009, Orrick 4 has represented IITK in connection with plaintiff's claims. Dkt. No. 25. On May 20, 2011, Orrick 5 approached plaintiff's counsel with a waiver of conflict so that it could hire Mr. Jeffrey McKenna 6 to work in Orrick's Bay Area practice. Dkt. No. 310. 7

I. BACKGROUND

In the underlying action, plaintiff brings claims against IITK and various others for breach Previously, Mr. McKenna worked as a mid-level associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP ("Skadden"). At Skadden, he participated in the representation of plaintiff in 9 a wrongful termination suit against her former employer, HT Oil LLP, (the "HT Oil action") that 10 included causes of action for violations of the California Labor Code, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and defamation. See Dkt. No. 305, Ex. 2. These claims stemmed from a fraud allegedly 13 perpetrated by one of the general partners of HT Oil. See Dkt. No. 310, Ex. 2. 14 15 action. Dkt. No. 310, Ex. 2. Although plaintiff and Mr. McKenna did not personally meet while he 16 worked on the matter, see Dkt. No. 382, plaintiff alleges that Mr. McKenna performed extensive 17 work on the case, including drafting of documentation relating to summary judgment motions, 18 researching a defamation cause of action and various contractual causes of action, attending 19 hearings, reviewing depositions, interacting with the chief architect of plaintiff's litigation strategy, 20 attorney Jose Allen, as well as reporting directly to him on all matters. See Dkt. No. 310, Ex. 2.

Plaintiff also alleges that during this time she "shared information about her technology, its 22 perceived value, her work with the IITK joint venture, and the impact of that experience on her 23 career and net worth" with Mr. Allen and his team. Id. Plaintiff's billing records show that Mr.

July 13, 2007

CONFER WITH J. ALLEN RE MSJ OPPOSITION AND STRATEGY DISUCSSION RE DEPOSITION SCHEDULE.

August 3, 2007

CONFER WITH J. ALLEN REGARDING STRATEGY.

From July 2007 to September 2007, Mr. McKenna billed 224 hours on plaintiff's HT Oil McKenna performed at least the following specific tasks: 25

Id.

2 waiver. However, plaintiff later agreed not to seek disqualification of Orrick on the grounds of Mr. 3 McKenna's hiring, provided that Orrick agreed to a suitable ethical wall. On September 30, 2011, 4 the parties reached stipulation including the following terms: 5

the current dispute between Ms. Farhang and Defendant IITK or its affiliates), in which Orrick represents IITK and/or its affiliates, Mr. McKenna will not reside in the same physical office building as Neel Chatterjee, Theresa Sutton, or ...


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