WarnerMedia seeks to disqualify law firm over alleged ethical breaches in mass arbitration campaign

The petition claimed that the firm's lawyers engaged in deceitful practices

WarnerMedia seeks to disqualify law firm over alleged ethical breaches in mass arbitration campaign

WarnerMedia is attempting to disqualify the plaintiffs' firm Zimmerman Reed from representing claimants in a mass arbitration case against the entertainment conglomerate, accusing the firm of serious ethical violations, Reuters reported.

WarnerMedia recently filed a petition in the New York State Supreme Court, alleging that Zimmerman Reed's managing partner, Caleb Marker, and two other firm professionals engaged in deceitful practices.

WarnerMedia's petition claimed that Marker, an associate, and a data analyst from Zimmerman Reed signed up as claimants in similar mass arbitration campaigns run by two other plaintiffs' firms, Keller Postman and Labaton Sucharow. WarnerMedia contended that these individuals were not legitimate claimants but joined the campaigns to gain access to confidential information that could benefit Zimmerman Reed's own arbitration efforts.

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The company alleged that by posing as claimants, Zimmerman Reed obtained "improper insight" into Warner's responses to demands and settlement offers from Keller Postman and Labaton Sucharow. This allowed Zimmerman Reed to tailor its own demands based on information gleaned from the other firms.

In a statement, Marker criticized WarnerMedia’s petition, stating that it appears to be an attempt to discredit any counsel willing to represent customers challenging the company’s privacy practices. He claimed that WarnerMedia’s complaint contains numerous misrepresentations and was filed for improper purposes.

According to the petition, in 2023, Marker contacted Warner and its affiliate, Discovery Digital, on behalf of approximately 70,000 clients, alleging that the Discovery video streaming platform disclosed their viewing histories to Facebook parent Meta, violating the Video Privacy Protection Act. The Act provides for statutory damages of $2,500 per violation.

WarnerMedia claims it discovered the overlap of claimants by reviewing client lists from Labaton and Keller Postman. Marker’s name appeared on these lists, prompting Warner to argue that Zimmerman Reed should be disqualified from the mass arbitration campaign due to the alleged misconduct.

Keller Postman partner Warren Postman defended the practice of clients retaining multiple law firms for arbitration demands, accusing Warner of trying to disrupt the arbitration process.

WarnerMedia’s petition also highlighted past litigation against Zimmerman Reed. In a previous case, French skincare company L'Occitane accused Zimmerman Reed of conspiring with clients to manufacture claims under California’s Invasion of Privacy Act. The case was ultimately dismissed, with the court ruling that the law firm’s clients did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Despite the ongoing legal challenges, Zimmerman Reed partner Marker expressed the firm’s commitment to pursuing claims against WarnerMedia for alleged video privacy violations by its HBOMax and Discovery platforms. Marker emphasized that WarnerMedia had shared customers' video streaming histories without consent, and the firm intends to continue focusing on this issue.

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