Gilbert LLP dropped a lawsuit seeking more than $6 million in legal fees and expenses from a former client as the two sides try to reach an agreement through private negotiations.
The firm notified a District of Columbia Superior Court judge yesterday that it was voluntarily dismissing its case against Tire Engineering & Distribution LLC. In a related case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the parties told a judge yesterday they were trying to resolve the dispute outside of the courts.
Gilbert accused Tire Engineering & Distribution, which does business as Alpha Tyre Systems and Alpha Mining Systems, of refusing to pay millions in fees and expenses after winning a $26 million trade secrets judgment in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Gilbert initially sought the $6 million in fees and expenses in the underlying trade secrets case. A judge awarded more than $600,000 in fees as part of the judgment, and Gilbert later filed a lien against Alpha saying it owed more in fees and expenses. By that time, Alpha had switched firms to Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, a shop started by Alpha's former lawyers at Gilbert.
According to a document Alpha filed in the Virginia case on Nov. 22, Gilbert filed its lawsuit in Superior Court shortly before the parties were supposed to negotiate on the fee issue. Gilbert sued Alpha and Weisbrod Matteis & Copley.
In the Nov. 22 filing, Alpha asked the court to step in and find that Gilbert's lien was valued at about $2.1 million.
Yesterday, the parties asked the Virginia judge to postpone a Dec. 13 hearing on the fee issue "while the parties attempt to resolve this dispute outside of Court." The Superior Court case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning Gilbert can refile it.
Gilbert's lawyer, Allen Gardner of Latham & Watkins, said the decision to dismiss the D.C. case was tied to the new efforts to reach an agreement outside of the courts. "The two sides are going to try to work it out," he said.
August Matteis Jr. of Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, a lead attorney for Alpha, said in an email today that they were pleased Gilbert dismissed the Superior Court case.
"The allegations in the Complaint were baseless and I agree with Gilbert’s decision to withdraw them," he said.