The latest chapter in the squabble between public interest lawyer William A. Dobrovir and Arnold & Porter's Stephen Sacks was filed last week in U.S. District Court.
Two months ago, Sacks, who represents a Laborers International Union official, accused Dobrovir, who represents dissident union members wanting to oust the leadership, of making a "highly improper" proposal.
Sacks said Dobrovir suggested he would recommend that his clients drop their case against the official, union general counsel Robert J. Connerton, if Connerton could influence the choice of a new union president acceptable to the dissidents.
Sacks said the offer supports Connerton's claim that the court suit is part of the dissidents' plan to take over the 650,000-member union. Sacks said he would call Dobrovir as a witness, a move which, under D.C. Bar rules, would require Dobrovir to get off the case, Sacks said.
In a response filed with U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn, Dobrovir said Sacks' version of their conversations was "inaccurate and incomplete" and that his proposal in no way warrants his removal from the case.
Dobrovir says he was simply initiating settlement discussions, which he thought would be kept "lawyer-to-lawyer" since such discussions are customarily privileged and not used against either side in a case.
Dobrovir said his clients were unaware of his discussions with Sacks, and that therefore there are no grounds for his appearance as a witness or for his removal from the case. (Dobrovir, by the way, is being represented in all this by William H. Allen at Covington & Burling).
Dobrovir also denies that he told Sacks in a telephone call two days later that he was concerned that his comments might seem like an attempt to use the court process to accomplish a political gain for his clients.
According to Dobrovir, he thought Sacks and Connerton might make such a claim. Dobrovir says he never thought there was any such abuse. Stay tuned . . . .