A case brought by an Alabama law firm that accuses three of its former Washington-office attorneys of stealing confidential client information could be heading toward a settlement.
Earlier this month, Slocumb Law Firm filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against three of its former attorneys, Zeke Roeser, Morgan Whitlock and Kevin Gracie. Since then, Gracie has been dismissed from the case.
Roeser and Whitlock stand accused of stealing confidential information from Michael Slocumb’s Washington office and using it to poach clients to establish a competing firm.
Slocumb’s attorney, Rodney Sweetland III, filed a motion for a temporary restraining order but later withdrew his motion. The matter has since been referred to Magistrate Judge John Facciola for settlement discussions.
“The Slocumb Law Firm is always willing to engage in settlement discussions that have a possibility of resolving these serious claims of his former associates while at the same time protecting the interest of its clients,” Sweetland said. “As an attorney I’m always hopeful that my clients can informally resolve the dispute, but given the serious nature of the allegations and the complexity of what happened, I’m not optimistic.”
Roeser and Whitlock’s attorney noted that partners and associates regularly jump to new firms or strike out on their own, often times taking existing clients with them.
“Roeser and Whitlock properly communicated their departures to their clients,” said Robert Salerno, a partner at Morrison & Foerster. “Clients are not property. They are free to choose their lawyers, and many have chosen to be represented by Roeser & Whitlock.”