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Big Law Firms Accused of Hiding Bankruptcy Judge’s Romance (1)

A lawsuit alleging a former Texas bankruptcy judge improperly shielded a romantic relationship has been expanded to target his girlfriend, as well as law firms Kirkland & Ellis and Jackson Walker.

The amended complaint filed Thursday is part of the ongoing fallout of David R. Jones’ relationship with a former attorney at Jackson Walker, a Texas firm that regularly represented clients in Jones’ courtroom before he resigned in October.

Kirkland & Ellis, a behemoth in the restructuring community, and Jackson Walker filed “numerous misleading and dishonest federal court papers without disclosing the Jones-Freeman relationship,” plaintiff Michael Van Deelen alleged in an amended complaint filed Thursday in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Jackson Walker, which employed Freeman until December 2022, often served as local counsel to Kirkland & Ellis in large Chapter 11 cases.

The failure to disclose the relationship amounts to bankruptcy fraud, honest services fraud, mail and wire fraud, and obstruction of justice under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Van Deelen said in the complaint.

“Debtors received favorable treatment and attorneys got rich in a bankruptcy system akin to shipping lettuce by rabbits,” the amended complaint said.

Van Deelen was a shareholder and

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