Following Kirk v. First American Title Ins. Co. (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 776, this decision holds that when (a) a lawyer who previously represented one party joins the law firm representing the other party in a lawsuit, thus leading to the law firm’s vicarious disqualification, but then (b) the conflicted lawyer leaves the law firm while its appeal from the disqualification order is pending, the Court of Appeal should remand the matter to the trial court for it to decide whether disqualification is still required. That decision turns on whether any of the former client’s confidences were disclosed to the law firm during the conflicted lawyer’s tenure there. In determining whether confidences were disclosed, the trial court should consider the seven factors outlined in Kirk.
California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3 (Bedsworth, Acting P.J.); June 26, 2018 (published July 24, 2018); 25 Cal. App. 5th 545