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Attorney Disqualification

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An attorney for plaintiff was found to have reviewed two of defendant's arguably attorney-client privileged documents without stopping and notifying the defendant when he realized the documents might be privileged.  However, the trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying the plaintiff's law firm as a result.  The trial court failed to say how the two documents could be used to… Read More

The trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying defendant's attorney on the ground the attorney would be defendant's principal witness regarding a decade-old settlement agreement between the parties--one that the attorney had negotiated for defendant.  When the client gives fully informed consent, as was true here, the attorney-witness may be disqualified only if the trial court finds prejudice to the… Read More

This decision affirms an order disqualifying plaintiff's attorney in a case arising from a dispute among the three principals of a closely held corporation.  Plaintiff sued the other two principals as one of those defendants' wives.  Using the corporation's computers, plaintiff accessed emails the wife sent her husband over the corporation's email server.  The decision holds that the trial court… Read More

The trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying plaintiff's counsel from all phases of the case shortly before trial on the ground that he would be a witness at trial.  The trial court erroneously failed to apply California Rule of Professional Conduct 3.7(3), which unlike the ABA rule from which it is drawn, allows an attorney to also testify with… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendants' motion to disqualify plaintiff's outside counsel firm, Pillsbury, on the ground that Pillsbury had hired two attorneys who eight years before had been associates at Sedgwick and while there had represented some of the defendant insurers in other coverage disputes involving different insureds.  Defendants' evidence failed to show that… Read More

Under Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12, a former judge may not act as counsel  in connection with a matter in which the he participated personally and substantially as a judge without the informed written consent of all parties.  This decision affirms an order disqualifying a former judge under this rule.  It holds that any party to the proceeding in which… Read More