The WSJ Law Blog and Fortune's Legal Pad reported that the law firm Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins may be barred from serving as class counsel because it had purchased stolen company documents from a former Coke executive.
After two Coke executives approached the firm with an offer of providing evidence, Coughlin Stoia hired them as consultants, one of whom then gave the firm over 3,000 documents taken from the company, including many marked confidential.
The firm filed a class-action suit against Coca-Cola on behalf of investors for allegedly inflated reported revenues through channel-stuffing. Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund v. Coca-Cola Co., No. 00-2838 (N.D. Ga.). A special master recommended that a motion for class certification be denied without prejudice so that new class counsel can be appointed.
Coughlin Stoia was named Lerach Coughlin prior to William Lerach's guilty plea in a scheme to pay named plaintiffs for their participation in lawsuits.