Hecht Partners LLP, Pierce Bainbridge and the Bizarre — Boeing 737 Max Case Update
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP collapsed under a reported $65 million debt to litigation funder Virage Capital. Hecht Partners LLP, a spin-off firm, was formed in March. In July 2019, Pierce Bainbridge filed RICO class action lawsuit against Southwest Airlines & Boeing Co. A brief timeline suggests why a lawyer for the Airlines called a May hearing “bizarre.”
July 2019 — Pierce Bainbridge files the lawsuit with attorneys Yavaar Bathaee and Brian Dunne taking the lead.
March 2020 — The two attorneys quit the firm and start Bathaee Dunne. They continue to work the Boeing case.
March 22 — David Hecht, a named-partner, reportedly resigns from Pierce Bainbridge.
April 14 — A Pierce Bainbridge attorney files a motion saying the Pierce Bainbridge firm is withdrawing from the Boeing case altogether.
May 13 — During a hearing, Hecht — who had reportedly resigned — says the Pierce Bainbridge withdrawal filing was “submitted in error.”
May 13 — A lawyer for the airlines characterizes the hearing as: “on of the more, frankly, bizarre situations I’ve ever been involved in.”
May 18 — The attorney who filed the Pierce Bainbridge withdrawal accuses Hecht of lying to the court, Hecht denies it.
May 26 — A Hecht Partners representative says Pierce Bainbridge and Hecht Partners are “entirely separate law firms.”
June 1 — Five days later, Hecht signs a filing in Boeing on behalf of Pierce Bainbridge.
June 4 — Three days, Hecht signs a filing the case on behalf of Hecht Partners.
June 8 — Four days later, Hecht signs another filing in Boeing, but he’s back to signing for Pierce Bainbridge.
June 11 —Three says later, Hecht Partners files and now says it’s a “successor to Pierce Bainbridge” in Boeing.
July 29 — David Hecht announces: “Hecht Partners is pleased to partner on the Boeing with Susman Godfrey, one of the premiere plaintiffs’ class action law firms in the United States.” (Susman Godfrey happens to be counsel for Virage Capital, the funder owed tens of millions by Pierce Bainbridge.)
August 10 — Bathaee Dunne, the ex-Pierce Bainbridge lawyers, apparently do not wish to work with their ex-colleagues. A Bathaee Dunne filing says “Hecht Partners itself has not shown that it should have any role at all as counsel in this case.”
September 29 — Susman Godfrey quits the Boeing case, just three months after David Hecht’s big announcement.
October 1 — Hecht Partners files to withdraw from the case or to compel the other lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side to cooperate and requests the filing be sealed (shielded from public view.)
October 19 — The Airlines respond and accuse Hecht Partners of “selectively quoting” from “withheld exhibits, ” which “runs contrary the common-sense principles of fairness. . .”
October 21 — The court grants Hecht Partners motion to keep the withdrawal motion sealed.
The same David Hecht was found by a federal judge in April 2019 to have acted “inconsistent” with the Rule of Professional Conduct on “dishonesty and misrepresentation.”
Virage Capital is apparently owed tens of millions of dollars.
Who is on the hook?
Is the Boeing lawsuit in play?