By Anna Louie Sussman
Feb 13 (Reuters) - A Washington district court judge has
ruled that Foley & Lardner may continue representing two Chinese
chemical companies in a trade case in front of the Department of
Commerce, in spite of objections from a competing U.S. chemical
business also involved in the case that formerly retained an
attorney now with Foley.
Judge Richard J. Leon on Monday said that GEO Specialty
Chemicals, the largest producer of glycine in the United States,
had failed to establish that Foley's representation of two
competitors based in Hebei, China, would likely cause GEO
GEO had sought to bar Foley from representing Hebei Donghua
Jiheng Fine Chemical Co and Hebei Donghua Jiheng Chemical Co in
front of the Department of Commerce in a case involving duties
levied on makers of glycine. GEO argued that Foley should be
disqualified from the case because its lawyer Gregory Husisian
previously represented GEO when he had worked at the law firm
Tom Feher, a partner at Thompson Fine, argued in a
memorandum that Husisian's "switching sides" violated the
District of Columbia's Rules of Professional Conduct that
prohibit a lawyer from representing a party "if that
representation will be directly adverse to a former client on
the same or a related matter in which the lawyer represented the
While Husisian worked at Thompson Hine, he spent over 1,400
hours on glycine-related matters for GEO, of which more than 300
hours focused on the Department of Commerce trade case,
according to GEO's memorandum.
The glycine trade case in front of the Department of
Commerce's International Trade Administration is ongoing.
On Tuesday, Thompson Hine opposed a motion by Foley to stay
discovery and a ruling date has not yet been set. A Foley
spokeswoman said the firm does not comment on ongoing client
Feher said the firm is still examining its options.
The case is GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc v. Gregory
Husisian, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No.
For the plaintiff: Thomas Feher of Thompson Hines.
For the defendant: Arthur D. Berger of Jackson & Campbell.
(This story has been altered to correct the misspelling of
the name Arthur Burger.)
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