D.C. law firm alleges discover services firm's arbitration unlawful

By Robbie Hargett | Apr 8, 2016

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A Washington D.C. law firm is suing a New York expert discover services company and its CEO, alleging its arbitration claims are unlawful.


Kotchen & Low LLP (K&L) filed a lawsuit Feb. 10 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Precision Discovery Inc. and Jerry Barbanel, alleging breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, fraud and violation of the Lanham Act.

In a separate antitrust lawsuit, in which K&L was prosecuting Delta Air Lines, a court discover sanctions order required K&L to retain a discovery expert (Precision), requiring Delta to pay Precision's bills, and, at Delta's request, denied K&L access to the Delta documents and data that Precision was analyzing, limiting K&L's ability to oversee Precision's work.

The suit says Precision declined to follow K&L's instructions to limit its scope of work, made false and misleading statements to K&L about the work performed and billed for work that had not been performed properly.

A federal court found in 2013 that Precision's billings were not reasonable and should be reduced by 50 percent, but in 2014, the suit says, Precision filed an arbitration against K&L seeking to recover the remaining half from K&L. 

K&L alleges Precision's misconduct led to several reductions in attorney fees and expenses that K&L would have recovered as discovery sanctions, and has adversely affected and delayed K&L's prosecution of the antitrust lawsuit.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment that Precision's arbitration claims are barred by the doctrines of res judicata and issue preclusion and that they are not subject to arbitration.

K&L also seeks a jury trial, damages including punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs of the suit. K&L attorney Daniel L. Low is representing the firm.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Case number 1:16-CV-00224-GK

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