Pa. Superior Court revives Ex-Rite Aid attorney's suit

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court has revived a suit filed by former Rite Aid general counsel Franklin Brown, who was convicted on fraud and obstruction charges in connection with the $1.6 billion accounting scandal that sent a half-dozen Rite Aid executives to prison and halved the firm's stock price.

The suit was filed against Philadelphia's Duane Morris and Baltimore firm Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber.

According to court documents, the suit stems from Duane Morris' representation of Mr. Brown, now 85, and his wife in litigation against Neuberger Quinn, related to the accounting fraud scandal that rocked the Cumberland County-based Rite Aid pharmacy chain.

In Brown v. Duane Morris, a split three-judge panel ruled 2-1 last week, in an unpublished memorandum, that a Philadelphia trial judge was wrong to deny Mr. Brown and his wife their right to oral argument on their petition.

Mr. Brown was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in October 2003 of 10 counts stemming from accounting irregularities at the drugstore chain in the late 1990s. He was one of six former Rite Aid executives and officers convicted in the investigation, and the only one to be found guilty in a jury trial. The others, including Rite Aid's former chairman and CEO, Martin L. Grass, all pleaded guilty.

Mr. Brown was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was resentenced in September 2010 to seven and a half years, according to court documents. When that sentence was overturned on appeal, he was resentenced to time served in August 2011 and released from prison, according to court documents.

Duane Morris said the plaintiffs "have no valid claims against Duane Morris and seek only to harass the firm," suggesting the plaintiffs commenced a legal action and simply never followed through with it.


Zack Needles: zneedles@alm.com or 1-215-557-2493. Read more articles like this at www.thelegalintelligencer.com.

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