Welcome to Reuters Legal News beta. Please enjoy and provide us with your feedback as we continue to improve the Reuters Legal News experience.

Skip to main content
Skip to floating mini video

Walgreens presses ex-law firm to disclose client records amid lawsuit

2 minute read

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

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Walgreens, suing Crowell & Moring for an alleged ethics breach, seeks internal records in discovery
  • Crowell says former client is on a "fishing expedition" and denies any ethics lapse

The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.

(Reuters) - Walgreen Co has asked a Washington, D.C., judge to compel Crowell & Moring to disclose certain billing records for other healthcare clients, as the retail pharmacy giant pursues a lawsuit alleging its former firm violated confidences obtained from a prior representation.

Walgreens asked a District of Columbia Superior Court judge on Nov. 19 to force the firm to turn over internal documents that it said it will use "to prove Crowell has breached its fiduciary duty to Walgreens" by taking positions adverse to the company in pending court and arbitration matters.

Walgreens, represented by Reed Smith and the boutique firm KaiserDillon, sued Crowell in March over its work for insurer Humana Inc in an arbitration matter adverse to Walgreens.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Crowell had represented Walgreens in 2008 on a prescription drug-savings program that is central to the arbitration.

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

Crowell has denied violating any ethics rules.

The Superior Court case is a rare example of a major U.S. company alleging a big law firm crossed an ethical line based on prior client work.

Walgreens said in its new filing "Crowell ignored the duty it owed Walgreens, its former client, by acting adversely to Walgreens in matters that were substantially related to Crowell's prior representation of Walgreens."

The firm said internal records are necessary as part of the company's assessment of damages. Walgreens is seeking, among other things, an order that would require Crowell to return certain legal fees for cases where the firm had lined up against the company.

Crowell has asserted attorney-client and work-product shields should stop Walgreens from acquiring internal records involving other clients.

Lawyers for Crowell have said Walgreens' demands for records on other health clients is "irrelevant and overbroad — the proverbial discovery 'fishing expedition.'"

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

The case is Walgreen Co v. Crowell & Moring, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 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 clears early hurdle

Steptoe, ex-client spar over documents in malpractice lawsuit

Foley & Lardner can defend itself against malpractice claim, D.C. judge says

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Mike Scarcella

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters