Wednesday, December 21, 2016

No Disqualification of Plaintiff’s Counsel for Simultaneous Representation of Defendant in Unrelated Litigation​

The court denied defendant's motion to disqualify plaintiff's new counsel for simultaneously representing defendant in an unrelated state case because disqualification would impose a substantial hardship on plaintiff. "By undertaking representation of [defendant] in the California case while undertaking representation against [defendant] in this case, [plaintiff’s counsel] plainly violated Rule 4-1.7. But an inadvertent input error -- not a deliberate disregard of the duty of loyalty -- caused that violation. The case has been pending for more than two-and-a-half years -- much longer than the 12- to 18-month goal set by the Court for this type of case -- and disqualification would further delay a merits decision. . . . [Plaintiff] played no part in causing the violation. Insofar as [plaintiff’s counsel] had undertaken 'hundreds of hours of document review' and 'numerous depositions (in Florida and Tennessee),' [plaintiff] would suffer a substantial hardship by having to retain new counsel to repeat or review that work. . . . With no sharing of [defendant's] confidences and able counsel on both sides, the violation will not diminish counsel’s effectiveness. And [counsel's] active representation of [defendant] lasted less than a month, during which it was not [defendant's] primary counsel."

Lanard Toys Limited v. Toys "R" Us, Inc. et al, 3-15-cv-00849 (FLMD December 16, 2016, Order) (Barksdale, MJ)

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