One water district, AVEK, that wasn’t originally involved in the Groundwater Cases hired BB&K to represent it in other matters while BB&K was representing other districts that were parties to the Groundwater Cases. When AVEK became a party to the Groundwater Cases, it hired independent counsel to represent it in that respect. After a decade passed, AVEK fired BB&K and then demanded that it recuse itself from further representation of the other districts in the Groundwater Cases. When BB&K declined to do so, AVEK moved to have it disqualified. This decision affirms the denial of the motion on two grounds. First, the trial court found on substantial evidence that AVEK impliedly consented to BB&K’s conflicting representation since it hired it knowing of the representation and then, while represented by other counsel in the Groundwater Cases, raised no objection to BB&K’s continued representation of the other districts in that case. The consent need not be in writing to be effective. Second, AVEK waived its right to disqualify or was estopped to disqualify BB&K because of its ten-year wait before moving for disqualification.
California Court of Appeal, Fifth District (Peña, Acting P.J.); December 20, 2018; 30 Cal. App. 5th 602