Baird targets opposing attorney in lawsuit with former recruiter

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Tensions between Baird and its former recruiter heightened as the broker-dealer filed a new motion, turning its attention to Jason Kirkland’s attorney — and current employer.

The motion requests that Doc Kennedy be disqualified to represent the recruiter, Jason Kirkland, during the trial. The firm asserts that Kennedy will need to serve as witness in the case itself, according to the motion filed in the U.S. District Court in Colorado on Wednesday.

“Jason Kirkland’s counsel and current employer — Dochtor Kennedy — has personal knowledge of material facts in this matter and will be a witness in this case,” the motion states. “Accordingly, he must be disqualified from any further representation of Plaintiff.”

The attorneys representing Baird did not respond to a request for further comment.

Kennedy thinks the motion is an attempt to slow down the lawsuit. “Basically they’re just throwing roadblocks,” Kennedy says.

About two months ago, Kirkland originally filed a lawsuit against Baird for allegedly withholding compensation. The Milwaukee-based regional BD filed counterclaims against him for sharing confidential information, violating a non-solicit agreement and working for Kennedy while he was still at the broker-dealer. Baird recently added a new counterclaim for “tortuous interference with business relations,” according to the motion.

Baird also filed a preliminary injunction on the matter in late December, accusing Kirkland of attempting to undermine Baird’s acquisition of Hilliard Lyons, a small broker-dealer of 380 advisors based in Kentucky.

Now Baird alleges Kennedy should not represent his client in court because of an email he sent to opposing counsel Michelle Muhleisen soon after the announcement of the Hilliard Lyons acquisition, the motion says. The firm asserts the email threatened that Kirkland would speak poorly about Baird to Hilliard Lyons advisors.

By sending that email, “Kennedy directly inserted himself as a fact witness in this case,” the motion says.

Baird aims to find out the intent of the email in court, as well as knowledge of contact between Kirkland and Hilliard Lyons’ advisors, according to the motion.

The firm also asserts that Kennedy has personal knowledge related to the counterclaims — particularly the issue of whether Kirkland broke contract by working for AdvisorLaw, Kennedy's company.

If Kennedy is called to testify as a witness, the jury could become confused or prejudiced, the motion says.

“They think I have some knowledge or information that they can’t obtain anywhere else,” Kennedy says, adding that other employees at AdvisorLaw could provide the same context he could.

“You cannot disqualify me if any other person can testify to that information.” he says.

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