Judge LT Senter ruled this afternoon on a motion of whether or not to allow the Rigsby Gals’ new lawyers to confer/share notes with the Trailer Lawyers.
From the ruling . . .
As far as the Renfroe documents are concerned, the genie has been out of the
bottle for quite some time, and the orders entered by this Court and by Judge Acker are
efforts to minimize or ameliorate the unfair prejudice that would otherwise flow from
these documents having been wrongfully taken and disclosed to third parties. If Judge
Acker’s injunction has not been obeyed, that is a matter that should be brought to his
At some point, this action has to be resolved on its merits, and the enormous
sideshow that has developed around the identity of Relators’ counsel and the wrongful
taking of these documents has to stop. By previous order, I have set a briefing
schedule for the dispositive motions now pending, and I am sure there are other
motions yet to come. I would like to reach the merits of these motions and indeed the
merits of this action as soon as possible. The parties and the public deserve no less.
While I agree wholeheartedly with Judge Acker’s finding that the documents the
Relators took from Renfroe in violation of their confidentiality agreement should be
returned, as he has ordered, I can do no more with respect to the use of these
documents than to exclude them from evidence. I know nothing that would make these
documents immune from production during ordinary processes of discovery, and, if the
documents are relevant, and if they are obtained through legitimate discovery requests,
I know nothing that would render these documents inadmissible.
I am going to decline the invitation of the Realtors to pre-approve any of their
proposed trial preparation strategy, and I am going to decline the invitation of State
Farm to set boundaries that are impossible to effectively monitor and enforce. I am
going to rely on the new attorneys for the Relators to discharge their duties in a manner
consistent with the highest ethical standards. If these attorneys elect to take
possession of the Relators’ file and/or to confer with the Relators’ former attorneys, they
must be prepared to accept the good and the bad that may flow from these decisions.
None of the Relators’ former counsel should have possession of any of the
documents the Relators took from their former employer. If any of these documents
are still in the possession of the Relators’ former attorneys, that would be a violation of
Judge Acker’s injunction, as I understand its terms. The Relators are directly subject to
Judge Acker’s injunction as are their legal representatives. As officers of the Court,
upon the discovery that Judge Acker’s injunction has been violated, new counsel would
be under a duty, in my opinion, to deliver all copies of those documents (regardless of
the form in which they are maintained) to Renfroe’s attorney in obedience to Judge
Acker’s injunction. These documents are not going to come into evidence in this case
(or in any other case under my control as judge) unless the party sponsoring the
document can show that the document was acquired through the ordinary channels of
Accordingly, the Relators’ motion  for leave to take possession of Relators’
files and for leave to confer with disqualified counsel is hereby DENIED on the grounds
that it seeks an advisory opinion. Counsel are free to prepare this case as they see fit,
and the Court will take up, in due course, any justiciable controversy that may arise as
this case proceeds to a resolution on its merits.