BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS - Relationship with client - Conflict of interest

Law360 Canada (June 8, 2023, 7:00 AM EDT) -- Motion by the defendants (EH defendants) for summary judgment and dismissal of the action against them in a conflict of interest action filed by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs asserted that the EH Defendants were in a conflict of interest while they were representing the plaintiffs in an earlier proceeding that has since settled. The plaintiffs sued their former employees, Nai-Guang Wang and Jin Ru Zhang, for claims associated with misuse and misappropriation of the plaintiffs’ intellectual property. Wang and Zhang defended the Employee Action and brought a counterclaim for wrongful dismissal and alleged outstanding employment benefits. The plaintiffs’ insurer, XL, eventually responded to that counterclaim on behalf of the plaintiffs. The EH Defendants were initially retained by the insurer XL to act on behalf of the plaintiffs in their defence of the counterclaim in the Employee Action. They subsequently agreed to act for the plaintiffs in the Employee Action. Their retainer confirmed that they were being retained to act for the plaintiffs in the Employee Action and by XL in respect of the counterclaim. The EH Defendants advised the plaintiffs that they would be withdrawing from their representation of the plaintiffs in the Employee Action and in two other active litigation matters that they were handling for the plaintiffs at the time. Notwithstanding their notification of withdrawal from continued representation of the plaintiffs, the EH defendants offered to assist the plaintiffs to meet existing deadlines in the other litigation matters if the plaintiffs wished them to do so. To that end, the EH Defendants continued to communicate with the plaintiffs and complete tasks that were underway in the ongoing matters upon the plaintiffs’ instructions....
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