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Tucker Ellis Disqualified From Insurance Fight With Seaman Corp.

Nov. 29, 2022, 7:54 PM

Seaman Corp. got Tucker Ellis LLP disqualified as Zurich American Insurance Co.'s counsel due to a conflict of interest in a suit alleging it failed to fully defend it in a product liability case.

Seaman sued Zurich and Everest National Insurance Co. after the insurers allegedly failed to provide a complete defense of the litigation, brought by Target Corp. Seaman moved to disqualify Tucker Ellis as Zurich’s counsel here, arguing that Lindsey Sacher—formerly employed by Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP—represented Seaman in the same matter involving Target.

Sacher has a former client conflict under Ohio Rule of Professional Conduct 1.9, according to US Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Knapp agreed with Seaman that Sacher had substantial responsibility for representing Seaman in the insurance coverage matter when she was with Calfee.

“Although Attorney Sacher described her contact with the client as ‘minimal’ and occurring in connection with her role as defense counsel, she did participate in conferences with Seaman,” the judge wrote on Monday. “She was also involved in ‘some communications to the insurance carrier” in her role.

Knapp also held that Sacher’s role in the underlying matter was substantial enough to impute the conflict to Tucker Ellis under the rules in Ohio.

Zurich is also represented by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

The case is Seaman Corp. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., N.D. Ohio, No. 5:21-cv-02158-DAR, 11/28/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com