NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - The maker of a popular line of child sippy cups is being sued by its former attorneys, who are accusing the company of fabricating allegations of malpractice in a lawsuit filed against the law firm last year.
Plaintiff Goldberg Cohen LLP, a New York-based intellectual property firm, filed its lawsuit against defendants Luv N’ Care Ltd. and affiliate Admar International Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Aug. 19.
Luv N’ Care, headquartered in Louisiana, is one of the leading baby product companies in the world and is mostly known for its Nuby line, which includes bottles, sippy cups, utensils and teethers.
In its 30-page complaint, Goldberg Cohen contends Luv N’ Care owes it millions of dollars for “extensive” legal services that the firm has rendered on the company’s behalf over the course of years.
“Rather than pay GC the amounts owed, LNC filed a lawsuit with fabricated allegations of malpractice, to try to evade its obligation to compensate GC for services rendered,” the firm wrote this month.
That lawsuit, filed last year by Luv N’ Care, sought at least $10 million from Goldberg Cohen for the firm’s alleged mishandling of patent infringement litigation.
The company’s lawsuit was dismissed by the Southern District of New York Aug. 18.
Meanwhile, Goldberg Cohen’s lawsuit accuses Luv N’ Care of attempting to blame the firm for the company’s “deliberate and sole decision” to drop the Explora line of products from its case against Mayborn USA Inc. and Jackel International Ltd.
“That decision was made by LNC before GC was hired to represent LNC in the Jackel case, and was made in a litigation solely prepared and filed by LNC’s CEO and LNC’s General Counsel who has over 50 years of experience,” the firm wrote. “Only after that decision to drop the products was made by LNC, was GC brought in to litigate the Jackel case.”
It continued, “On the eve of trial, LNC feigned ignorance of the Explora products, asserted to GC that they should have been part of the suit, and blamed GC for their omission from the suit.”
According to the firm’s complaint, Goldberg Cohen attorneys still managed to come to a satisfactory resolution.
“GC took the Jackel suit to trial, won a jury verdict of over three quarters of a million dollars, and secured a Final Judgment including a worldwide injunction, interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees,” the firm wrote. “GC then negotiated and secured agreement by Jackel to pay a sum far, far exceeding the jury verdict for the products at issue in the lawsuit and the Explora products (even though they were not even in the suit), to resolve any and all potential claims over those products.
“Against GC’s advice, LNC flatly rejected that settlement. Instead, LNC chose to file suit against Jackel in Texas over the Explora products, via attorneys other than GC.”
The Texas court ruled that the company knew about the Explora products when it filed the Louisiana lawsuit, and that it chose to drop the line of products from that lawsuit. It barred Luv N’ Care from further litigating those products under the principle of res judicata. Basically, the matter cannot be raised again, either in the same court or in a different court.
“Knowing of its own actions and of the Texas court’s ruling, LNC frivolously sued GC in this Court over the omission of the Explora products from the Louisiana suit,” the firm wrote. “LNC tried to mislead this Court into believing the omission was GC’s ‘malpractice,’ as a means of recovering on those products from GC, to use GC as a scapegoat for the consequences of LNC’s own choices.
“LNC outrageously sought to deceive this Court into making GC pay for voluntary decisions that deliberately made before GC’s involvement. LNC tried to blame GC for LNC’s own choices, mistakes, and greed.”
Not only did the company refuse to abide by its agreement to pay Goldberg Cohen for its work litigating the Jackel case, but it also asserted in its lawsuit that the firm failed to timely file papers -- in the Texas case -- for the recovery of attorneys’ fees.
But the firm did timely file its papers, Goldberg Cohen contends in its complaint.
“GC filed before entry of a Final Judgment as required by law, and while post-judgment motion was pending, making GC’s motion for attorneys’ fully timely,” the firm explained.
Luv N’ Care’s other claims of negligence and/or malpractice were “equally meritless,” the firm argues.
Goldberg Cohen seeks the legal fees still owed to it, attorneys’ fees, damages and interest.
It also asks the New York federal court to award sanctions against the company and its counsel due to Luv N’ Care’s and its counsel’s “deceitful, dishonest, and perjured actions in multiplying the proceedings case unreasonably and vexatiously in the malpractice case and requiring this case, and for its anticipated further such conduct in this case.”
New York attorney Jeffrey Dweck is helping the firm represent itself in the case.
Luv N’ Care could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.