Epson Can Keep Quinn Emanuel As Counsel Judge by niusheng11


									Epson Can Keep Quinn Emanuel As Counsel: Judge
By Zach Winnick

Law360, Los Angeles (June 1, 2011) -- A California federal judge on Wednesday rejected efforts
by putative class action plaintiffs suing printer maker Epson America Inc. over ink cartridges to
disqualify its counsel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, and an expert witness
retained by the firm.

Plaintiffs' attorneys from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP moved in April to have Quinn
Emanuel and print expert David Spencer of SpencerLab Digital Color Laboratory thrown off the
case, arguing the plaintiffs disclosed confidential work product to Spencer before he was retained
by Quinn Emanuel, requiring disqualification of both. But U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez
said Wednesday the plaintiffs had not shown sensitive information had been shared.

“This court finds that confidential information was not disclosed to Mr. Spencer in this
litigation,” he told the parties. “The motion to disqualify Mr. Spencer and the law firm Quinn
Emanuel is denied.”

The decision means Quinn Emanuel will continue to represent Epson and that a stay order issued
in March can be lifted, moving the putative class action closer to trial.

In a heavily redacted motion filed in April, the plaintiffs argued Akin Gump attorneys contacted
Spencer in February and October 2010, and that they discussed hiring him as an expert — but
that in December, Spencer was contacted by Quinn Emanuel about working as an expert for

Spencer called an attorney at Akin Gump the same day and “announced that he had changed his
mind about working for [the] plaintiffs,” according to the motion.

Akin Gump attorney Catherine Conway argued Wednesday that Spencer had received
confidential information from the firm, including “our thought process — why certain tests
should be run and how they should be run.”

But Judge Gutierrez grilled her on exactly what confidential information had been shared.

“Looking at the [motion], I cannot find any confidential information was told to Mr. Spencer,”
he said. “You had the opportunity to tell me in the [motion] that you told Mr. Spencer A, B, C
and D on X and Y dates. Why didn’t you?”

The named plaintiffs — Christopher O'Shea, Gisele Rogers and Jeff Adams — allege that Epson
and affiliate Epson Accessories Inc. misrepresented and concealed the “grossly inefficient print
yields generated by [their] ink cartridges, which are well below reasonable consumer
expectations and the yields of other manufacturers' printers.”.

Epson knew how to mitigate the ink loss of the cartridges, but concealed that information from
consumers, the suit contends. Rather, the company constructed a business model to sell inkjet
printers at or below cost while maximizing profits on the sale of inefficient ink cartridges, the
complaint asserts.

“Epson hoped that most consumers would simply not notice the ink waste, and thereby continue
to purchase more and more of these wasteful ink cartridges, all to Epson's profit,” the third
amended complaint said.

The plaintiffs seek a class that would include everyone in the U.S. who purchased an Epson
inkjet printer and/or ink cartridges anytime within four years of the filing of the suit. The case
was filed in state court in 2009, and Epson removed the case to federal court soon after.

The complaint alleges fraud and violations of state laws regulating unfair business practices,
false advertising and consumer protection.

An attorney for Epson declined to comment after the hearing.

Conway called the ruling disappointing, but said the plaintiffs would now focus on certification
briefing in what she called a very important consumer class action case.

"We expect to prevail on class certification," Conway said.

Epson is represented by Shon Morgan, Ryan Goldstein and Valerie Roddy of Quinn Emanuel
Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.

The plaintiffs are represented by Catherine Conway, Rex Heinke and Joanna Kim of Akin Gump
Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as well as Eric Yuhl and William Stoner of Yuhl Stoner Carr LLP.

The case is Christopher O'Shea et al. v. Epson America Inc. et al., case number 2:09-cv-08063,
in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

--Additional reporting by Shannon Henson. Editing by Eydie Cubarrubia.


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