A team of lawyers representing Hogan & Hartson has filed a motion to dismiss a suit that alleges the firm committed legal malpractice, a breach of contract, and a breach of fiduciary duty.
Prestige Brands Inc. sued the Washington law firm, claiming lawyers at Hogan used attorney-client communication to help a competitor bring a product to the market quicker than it could have without Hogan’s representation. Prestige and the competitor, DenTek Oral Care Inc. are both the makers of an over-the-counter mouth guard designed to prevent people from grinding their teeth while they sleep.
The motion to dismiss, which was filed by Zuckerman Spaeder in D.C. Superior Court this afternoon, claims that Prestige did not plead sufficient facts to establish Hogan was guilty of a conflict of interest and a breach of duty. The motion states that Prestige “does not allege facts to establish that the alleged conflict or possession of confidential information proximately caused a reduction in Prestige’s market share.”
The motion also says that Prestige did not plead any facts against the two lawyers named in the suit, Hogan partner Howard Holstein and former Hogan partner Jeffrey Shapiro, that would show either lawyer committed malpractice or a breach of fiduciary duty. (Shapiro is now a partner with Hyman, Phelps & McNamara)
The motion also states that the Court should dismiss Prestige’s request for punitive damages because the company does not allege Hogan acted with “malicious intent.”
Prestige’s wholly owned subsidiary Medtech Products Inc. is also currently suing ex-employees, retailers, and other oral care manufacturers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for allegedly stealing trade secrets. Today’s motion from Hogan in Superior Court requests that the suit in Washington be stayed until the litigation in New York is resolved.
“Prestige has filed a baseless suit against its former lawyers to compensate for Prestige’s own erroneous predictions regarding the state of the mouth guard market,” the motion states.
The team of Zuckerman lawyers is led by Mark Foster, who last year represented Wiley Rein in a legal malpractice suit against the firm brought by Blackwater Security Consulting. Zuckerman is also representing Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo in a pending legal malpractice suit filed by Cricket Technologies in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County in Virginia.