HP Switches to Morrison Foerster Lawyers in Autonomy Suit

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) changed its lawyers in cases brought by investors who are suing over the company’s $8.8 billion writedown related to the acquisition of Autonomy Corp.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP lawyer Robert E. Gooding Jr. and his team have been replaced by Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Darryl P. Rains and Judson E. Lobdell, according to a filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco.

Hewlett-Packard, the largest personal computer maker, faces shareholder lawsuits stemming from its Nov. 20 announcement that it was taking a multibillion-dollar writedown on the value of British software maker Autonomy, which it agreed to buy for $10.3 billion in 2011.

Rains represented Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) in shareholder lawsuits over losses in its YieldPlus Fund. San Francisco partner Lobdell represented Patricia Dunn, former chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, in a criminal case that was dismissed in 2007 and in related civil litigation.

Morgan Lewis partner Leslie Caldwell said by phone she will continue to serve as Hewlett-Packard’s liaison to federal prosecutors investigating whether Autonomy employees lied about the company’s performance.

Accounting Practices

More than $5 billion of the writedown was the result of accounting practices at Autonomy, Hewlett-Packard said in November. About $200 million of Autonomy’s revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly, the company’s general counsel said.

Michael Thacker, a spokesman for Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard, declined to comment on the replacement of the investor litigation lawyers on behalf of the company and its general counsel’s office.

Jennifer Costa, a spokeswoman for Morgan Lewis, declined to comment on the firm’s replacement.

Rains declined to comment. Lobdell was out of the country and couldn’t immediately be reached. Amy Merriweather, a spokeswoman for Morrison & Foerster, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Morgan Lewis, along with Slaughter and May, advised Autonomy on the original acquisition by Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard’s legal advisers on the deal included DLA Piper LLP; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

The securities class action case is In Re HP Securities Litigation, 12-cv-5980, and the derivative case is Riccardi v. Lynch, 12-cv-06003, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.