In a decision with implications for lawyers representing franchisees, a New Jersey court recently disqualified a firm because of a conflict of interest. In Mody v. The Quiznos Franchise Company, 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS 1719 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. July 18, 2012), the New Jersey appellate court disqualified the Marks & Klein, LLP (“M&K”) law firm from representing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Quiznos after M&K hired an attorney, Andrew Bleiman, who had represented various Quiznos-related entities in litigation relating to franchise disputes. Significantly, the court noted that Bleiman had represented Quiznos in a prior lawsuit involving substantially the same issues and facts that were being litigated by the plaintiffs. The appellate court determined that because Mr. Bleiman was an attorney with primary responsibility in the prior lawsuit, a clear conflict of interest existed that barred the M&K law form from representing the plaintiffs in the current action.
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