MOTION-- The Office of the City Attorney has received the following requests for waiver of
conflicts of interest by four outside counsel law firms currently engaged in work for the
City. Rule 1.7 of the California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct states that a
lawyer shall not, without informed written consent from a client, represent that client if
the representation is directly adverse to another client in the same or a separate matter.
In each of the cases below, outside counsel has provided notice of such an adversity,
and the City Attorney has reviewed the nature of the conflicts and the facts surrounding
them, and determined that waiver is appropriate and not likely to adversely affect the
City’s best interest.
The law firm of Gordon Rees Skully & Mansukhani, LLP currently defends the
City in Aguilar v. City of Los Angeles, et al. where plaintiff, an OTR truck driver, allegedly
sustained injuries while operating his semi-trailer truck at APM Terminal's Pier 400 on
Terminal Island, in the Port of Los Angeles. The firm now seeks to represent LaZKarp
Partners, Inc., in connection with a case arising from a plaintiff’s alleged fall on a City
sidewalk outside of the Normandie Hotel. Plaintiff filed suit against the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Los
Angeles. The City of Los Angeles then filed a cross-complaint seeking equitable
indemnity, contribution, apportionment, and declaratory relief against LazKarp Partners,
which was allegedly operating a valet stand at the Normandie Hotel.
The Nossaman LLP law firm has several contracts with the City providing legal
expertise in matters related to public contracting, real estate, finance, IP and
environmental work. Nossaman has been approached by Russell Burdsall & Ward, Inc.
(“RB&W”) to represent RB&W with respect to environmental claims involving the BKK
waste site asserted by the “BKK Working Group." The LADWP is a member of the BKK
Working Group. RB&W may be asked to contribute to the cost of clean-up at the site or
be subject to a cost recovery/contribution lawsuit. RB&W may also be requested to
execute a tolling agreement regarding the statute of limitations as to such claims.
The law firm of Foley Lardner has contracts with two of the City’s pension plans,
the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and the Los Angeles Fire and
Police Pensions. Under each contract, over the next three years, Foley will provide legal
advice and support to the pension plans with respect to cybersecurity and health data
privacy matters. Odyne Systems, LLC (“Odyne”) has requested that Foley represent it
in drafting and negotiating an agreement between Odyne and the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power ("DWP”) in support of Odyne’s prime agreement with
the U.S. Department of Energy. Odyne is a recipient of a Department of Energy grant to
provide hybrid trucks, and DWP would be a subrecipient. This requires the negotiation
of an agreement between Odyne and DWP. in which negotiation Foley would serve as
counsel to Odyne.
Nixon Peabody represents the City in a variety of bond transactions. The firm
now proposes representing Bank of America in the transaction related to the City's small
contractor's surety bond program. The small contractor's surety bond program is
intended to benefit third party small contractors who cannot meet the City's bonding
requirements for City contracts. Therefore, the City enters into a credit agreement with
a bank where the bank will provide the funds to purchase the surety bond necessary to
start the project.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the Council approve these waivers on behalf of the