Robert Peirce: Once a client, always a client

By The West Virginia Record | Jun 2, 2011

When you hire Robert Peirce to represent you, you've got a lawyer for life.

In the long run that may not benefit you, but it does the Pittsburgh asbestos attorney a world of good.

As long as Peirce can maintain that you're still a client, he can claim an attorney-client relationship, and that gives him a basis for trying to prevent other attorneys from talking to you.

Say, for instance, that a corporation targeted for asbestos litigation suspects that Peirce and his firm have fabricated evidence or suborned perjury. That corporation and its attorneys would want to talk to some of his former clients to try to corroborate their suspicions and secure witnesses for a counter suit.

That would be bad for Peirce.

Of course, he wouldn't say that. No, he would assert ongoing client-attorney relationships and high-mindedly claim that he's looking out for the interests of his former clients –- who really aren't former client because Peirce never severs his professional relationships. They're the closest thing to eternal this side of heavenly beyond.

Last June, Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Arthur Recht dismissed, with prejudice, more than 1,400 asbestos claims filed against CSX Transportation by Peirce's firm. At the end of 2010, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a fraud case filed against his firm by CSX. The suit alleges that Peirce's firm conspired to fabricate asbestos claims.

Peirce says CSX and its attorneys should not be allowed to talk to any of his (former) clients, because, "even if a client does not have a presently pending third-party claim, the Peirce firm continues to have an attorney-client relationship with the client as to asbestos-related claims because 'additional claims may be brought in the future.'"

Once a client, always a client. That's the Peirce firm motto. Until death do we part. It's a covenant relationship.

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