A long-time insurance company client of Greenberg Traurig has sued the law firm, KPMG, and ten other defendants under conspiracy and other theories in district court in the Southern District of Florida, case number 9:16-cv-80618. The law firm had assisted plaintiff with the development of an offshore insurance product. The Complaint alleges defendants helped form a competitive insurance company that stole clients from plaintiff forcing the plaintiff into a receivership.
Three allegations in the Complaint provide a cautionary tale for both lawyers and their clients. Plaintiff asserts there was an oral agreement at the relationship’s inception that the law firm would not represent a competitor of plaintiff. A complete written client agreement should fully address such issue for the benefit of both sides.
Some of the law firm invoices had numerous redactions. Redactions would usually seem incompatible with the duties of the law firm.
Finally, the Complaint asserts Greenberg Traurig provided plaintiff crucial tax opinions for four years then declined to give needed updates thereafter while doing tax opinions for the competitor. There is a suggestion that the refusal was a result of plaintiff failing to pay its legal invoices. The value of including in a client agreement a clear-cut right to terminate the relationship cannot be overstated.