CalPERS is trying to ban a law firm from representing a creditor in the bankruptcy of the city of San Bernardino.
The $265.5 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, accused the law firm of Winston & Strawn of being “deceptive” by hiring several key lawyers who had been working for the pension fund in the bankruptcies of the California cities of San Bernardino and Stockton.
Winston & Strawn represents creditor National Public Finance Guarantee Corp., which opposes CalPERS in the two bankruptcies, the pension fund said in court papers filed May 17 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside, Calif. The Winston & Strawn attorneys had been employed in the Charlotte, N.C., office of K&L Gates, the law firm representing CalPERS in the bankruptcies.
National Public and other creditors have complained that Stockton city officials were trying to force them, but not CalPERS, to take less than they are owed. The same disputes in which CalPERS is engaged over Stockton also will have to be resolved in the San Bernardino case, the pension fund said.
“By hiring from K&L Gates' Charlotte office, Winston has knowingly obtained lawyers who were at the heart of the K&L Gates litigation team representing CalPERS, taking a partner who was a key lieutenant,” the pension fund said in the filing.
Lawrence A. Larose, a lawyer at Winston & Strawn who is representing National, didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the CalPERS filing.