Littler law firm in talks to resolve claims against rival Polsinelli

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The company logo of the law firm Polsinelli in their offices in New York. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Littler sued over Polsinelli’s hiring of home care team in 2021
  • Atlanta federal judge gives Polsinelli more time to respond

(Reuters) – Law firm Polsinelli said on Friday it was “actively” working to resolve a lawsuit accusing it of stealing trade secrets for hiring a team in Atlanta last year from rival firm Littler Mendelson.

Polsinelli’s attorneys at BakerHostetler and Littler’s attorneys at Squire Patton Boggs told a Georgia federal judge in a joint filing that both sides were working to “seek an amicable resolution” to the lawsuit filed in September.

U.S. District Judge Michael Brown approved Polsinelli’s request to respond by mid-July to Littler’s revised complaint.

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San Francisco-based Littler is among the nation’s largest employment-focused law firms. Polsinelli hired three attorneys from Littler in March 2021, including Angelo Spinola, co-chairman of the firm’s health and homecare industry group.

Movements between companies are common, and Polsinelli said at the time that he was growing his workforce and employment ranks. Littler has more than 1,500 lawyers, nearly double Polsinelli’s workforce, according to data from industry publication The American Lawyer.

Polsinelli’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, and neither did Spinola. A representative for Polsinelli declined to comment.

Littler’s attorneys and a representative for the firm did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Littler’s lawsuit claims that Kansas City, Mo.-based Polsinelli “solicited, recruited, and hired former Littler employees knowing he would obtain Littler’s confidential information and trade secrets.”

The trial did not name as defendants Spinola and the other lawyers who jumped to Polsinelli.

The complaint had named a non-lawyer paralegal who was removed in May after Littler said he had settled his claims against her. The administrative staff member, who also joined Polsinelli, had worked at Littler for two years and helped lawyers focus on home care clients.

“Former Littler employees engaged in misconduct for the benefit of themselves and Polsinelli. At every step, Polsinelli was complicit in or actively facilitated their misconduct,” Littler’s complaint alleged.

The lawsuit said Polsinelli was creating a competing customer product called “Polsinelli Online Solutions for Home Care.” Littler runs a legal subscription product for customers called Littler’s Home Care Toolkit.

Littler said he was seeking damages from Polsinelli in addition to the “permanent destruction” of information that was allegedly “deleted or received without authorization.”

The case is Littler Mendelson v. Polsinelli, US District Court, Northern District of Georgia, No. 1:21-cv-3855-MLB.

For Littler Mendelson: Dara Mann and Francisco Rolon of Squire Patton Boggs

For Polsinelli: Eric Barnum and Georgia Turner from BakerHostetler

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