The city sued the food delivery service two years ago in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
DoorDash, in response, raised an affirmative defense that Chicago’s contingent fee agreement with its outside attorneys, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, gives the firm a financial interest in the lawsuit that goes against the obligation of the City of acting in the public interest and violates DoorDash’s rights. rights to due process.
In support of that defense, the company requested discovery of all documents related to the city’s retention of the company, all non-privileged communications between the city and the company, and not limited to the current case.
While Chicago conceded that some of what DoorDash is seeking is appropriate, it maintains that the company is only entitled to the production of the city’s retainer agreement with signature and outside counsel guidelines and that anything beyond that encroaches on the attorney-client relationship.
Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert wrote that “courts in this jurisdiction have permitted such contingency fee arrangements” by denying in part Doordash’s motion.
“DoorDash casts its line too far from the figurative dock with these broad admitted discovery requests
mainly by speculations and conjectures”, said the magistrate. Gilbert suggested that more conferences between the parties could solve some of DoorDash’s problems without “movement practice.”
The company also requested Chicago’s communications with federal, intrastate and extrastate agencies, according to the court ruling. And, while the city produced records dating back to Jan. 1, 2019, Doordash wanted documents dating back to 2014.
This Gilbert denied it.
The court said it would not approve the communications request as written, but ordered the parties to discuss a new scope for discovery that would be proportionate.
The company’s requests for talks prior to 2019 were too broad for the court to grant at this time, Gilbert said, but the communications about whether misleading rates for consumers were a local or national issue are “relevant to the defense of DoorDash’s autonomy”.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Forde & O’Meara LLP; and Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP represent Doordash.
The case is City of Chicago v. Door Dash LLC, ND Ill., No. 1:21-cv-05162, 5/25/23.