Mergers & Antitrust Law News

McGuireWoods Hit With Records Demand in Suit Over Energy Deal

April 12, 2019, 3:04 PM

An importer-exporter who says two former partners and their attorneys at McGuireWoods LLP used dirty tricks to strip their joint venture of its assets has accused the law firm of sitting on the records he needs to prove it.

McGuireWoods won’t give Andrew J.C. Kunian any of the legal work it did setting up a deal to export natural gas from Texas to Chile on behalf of two companies he co-owned with Francis Smollon and Colin Williams, according to the April 11 complaint filed in Delaware Chancery Court.

Kunian has already sued Smollon and Williams in Massachusetts, claiming they had McGuireWoods attorneys working for the joint ventures--Eos LNG and Eos Infra--set up “carbon copies” of both companies in a scheme to poach the Chile deal. That case is proceeding in Boston federal court.

According to the Delaware complaint, Smollon and Williams “orchestrated Kunian’s freeze-out with the full knowledge, cooperation, substantial aid, and assistance of” McGuireWoods. The law firm never terminated its representation of the Eos companies, which Kunian personally arranged, or notified him about any conflict of interest, the suit claims.

Smollon and Williams subsequently filed suit in Texas state court seeking to push Kunian out of the Chile project, he said.

In both that case and the Massachusetts suit, McGuireWoods has refused to cooperate with Kunian, ignoring its ethical and fiduciary obligations toward its client, the Delaware complaint claims. The documents that the firm won’t turn over are “critical” as he seeks to “investigate and identify any additional acts of wrongdoing and fraud,” the suit says.

Cause of Action: Declaratory judgment; mandatory injunction.

Relief: An order directing McGuireWoods to turn over to Kunian all client files it produced working for the Eos companies.

Response: McGuireWoods didn’t immediately respond to an April 12 request for comment.

Attorneys: Kunian is represented by Cross & Simon.

The case is Kunian v. McGuireWoods LLP, Del. Ch., No. 2019-0281, 4/11/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Leonard in Washington at mleonard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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