Penn Schoen v Berland

Some of the consultants who helped elect Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg are now on opposite sides of a law suit.

The firm of Penn Schoen & Berland is suing one of its former partners, Michael Berland, for allegedly violating a no-competition agreement by helping another former PSB employee, Mitchell Markel, form a rival company.

Berland “was funding and assisting Markel in setting up this competing enterprise,” the plaintiffs claim in a lawsuit filed in state supreme court on June 21. It goes on to say “Berland and other Individual Defendants, are currently soliciting and/or servicing PSB’s biggest clients, including National Hockey League (“NHL”), Estee Lauder, Qwest, RIM and Electronic Arts…”

Also named in the law suit are Julie Bissell and Jennifer Negrin, who previously worked at Penn, Schoen and Berland.

While the heart of the case is about access to corporate clients, the principals in the law suit are consultants with ties to Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg (who could conceivably end up being presidential rivals in 2008).

PSB was founded by Mark Penn and Doug Schoen, who did polling and consulting for Bill Clinton during his second term. Penn is currently a pollster and top adviser on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Berland was a key figure in Bloomberg’s two mayoral campaigns (which you can read about in a recent book by Schoen).

Messages left at the offices of Penn, Schoen & Berland, with the company’s lawyer and at the DC office of Michael Berland were not immediately returned.