Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Sherwin Williams Claims Law Firm|Received Stolen Lead-Paint Documents

CLEVELAND (CN) - Sherwin Williams claims the Motley Rice law firm, which has sued it in lead paint cases since 1999, obtained stolen PowerPoint slides about "the costs of defending the lead paint and pigment litigation," which are confidential, attorney-client documents. It wants the stuff back and it wants Motley Rice enjoined from using it.

Motley Rice has represented the state of Rhode Island and dozens of individual plaintiffs in lead paint litigation since 1999, the paint company claims in Cuyahoga County Court. It claims that in 2006, "while Motley Rice was soliciting Ohio cities to retain it, one or more attorneys from Motley Rice, including Fidelma Fitzpatrick, met with a former Sherwin-Williams employee at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The former employee had been responsible for preparing the PowerPoint slides and other graphics used during presentations made to Sherwin-Williams' Board of Directors in 2004, 2005, and earlier years. Sherwin-Williams did not know of this secret meeting. ...

"During the meeting, the former Sherwin-Williams employee provided Motley Rice with the names of other former employees, several of whom may have had a role in preparing, or would likely have had access to, Board presentation materials."

Sherwin-Williams says that "included among the documents are materials generated by Sherwin-Williams' attorneys to provide advice to Sherwin-Williams' Board of Directors concerning ongoing litigation strategy, anticipation of litigation, developments and costs of defense as well as potentially available insurance coverage for litigation liabilities and defense costs."

It claims the documents contain business secrets and attorney-client work products. It claims Motley Rice also has a 34-page confidential Sherwin-Williams fax with "highly confidential and proprietary business information, including information regarding strategies in other litigation, proposed business strategies, plans for geographical expansion and market growth, potential mergers or acquisitions, retail partnerships, and sensitive information regarding the company's finances."

And it says Motley Rice has refused to explain how it got all this stuff, and refused to return it.

Motley Rice is based in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Sherwin-Williams is represented by James Wooley.

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