Walgreens Urges Former Law Firm To Release Client Files In Lawsuit


A Walgreens sign is pictured with pigeons sitting on it in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, United States on November 18, 2021. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

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  • Walgreens, suing Crowell & Moring for alleged ethics violation, seeks internal records in discovery
  • Crowell Says Former Client on ‘Fishing Expedition’ Denies Ethics

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Walgreens demand a District of Columbia Superior Court judge on Nov. 19 to force the company to turn over internal documents it said it would use “to prove that Crowell breached its fiduciary duty to Walgreens” by taking positions unfavorable to the company in court and pending arbitration issues.

Walgreens, represented by Reed Smith and boutique company KaiserDillon, sued Crowell in March over his work for insurer Humana Inc in an arbitration case against Walgreens.

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Crowell represented Walgreens in 2008 on a prescription drug savings program that is at the heart of the arbitration.

The firm is now also legal counsel to major national health insurers in a case in Illinois federal court against Walgreens.

Crowell has denied breaking any ethical rules.

The Superior Court case is a rare example of a large American corporation alleging that a large law firm crossed an ethical line based on the past work of its clients.

Walgreens said in its new case “Crowell has ignored his duty to Walgreens, his former customer, in acting against Walgreens in matters which were substantially related to Crowell’s previous portrayal of Walgreens.”

The company said internal records are needed as part of the company’s damage assessment. Walgreens is seeking, among other things, an order that would require Crowell to reimburse certain legal fees in cases where the company has lined up against the company.

Crowell said attorney-client and labor product protections should prevent Walgreens from acquiring internal cases involving other clients.

Crowell’s attorneys have said Walgreens’ claims for records on other health care clients are “irrelevant and too broad – the proverbial ‘fishing expedition’ finding.”

Crowell’s attorneys at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis and Walgreens attorneys did not immediately return messages on Tuesday seeking comment.

The case is Walgreen Co v. Crowell & Moring, District of Columbia Superior Court, No. 2021-0861

For Walgreens: Frederick Robinson of Reed Smith; and Courtney Forrest of KaiserDillon

For Crowell: Thomas Mason and Jared Marx of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis

Read more:

Walgreens lawsuit against Crowell & Moring lifts early hurdle

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Reporting by Mike Scarcella


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