UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
November 5, 2007
AMERICAN ECONOMY INSURANCE COMPANY, AN INDIANA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
NICEFORO HERRERA, INDIVIDUALLY AND DOING BUSINESS AS ACAPULCO'S PRODUCE MARKET; MALNICK PROPERTIES LLC, A CONNECTICUT CORPORATION; LUIS BENITEZ; AND JOHANNA BENITEZ, BY AND THROUGH HER GUARDIAN AT LITEM, LUIS BENITEZ, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge
On August 21, 2007, A. Jason Kerckhoff and Kerckhoff Law, APC filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Record for Defendants Luis Benitez, individually, and Johanna Benitez, by and through her guardian ad litem, Luis Benitez ("Defendants"). (Doc. # 37). According to the Declaration of A. Jason Kerckhoff, A. Jason Kerckhoff and Kerckhoff Law, APC moved to withdraw because Defendants have failed to cooperate in providing documents and information necessary for their representation, Defendants have failed to keep counsel advised as to their whereabouts, making further contact impossible, and counsel has determined there is little likelihood that Defendants will prevail in contesting the insurance coverage issues presented in the action, such that the cost and expense of such defense is unjustified.
An attorney may not withdraw as counsel except by leave of court. Darby v. City of Torrance, 810 F.Supp. 275, 276 (C.D. Cal. 1992). "The decision to grant or deny counsel's motion to withdraw is committed to the discretion of the trial court." Irwin v. Mascott, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28264 (N.D. Cal. December 1, 2004), citing Washington v. Sherwin Real Estate, Inc., 694 F.2d 1081, 1087 (7th Cir. 1982). Among other things, courts ruling upon motions to withdraw as counsel have considered, (1) the reasons why withdrawal is sought; (2) the prejudice withdrawal may cause to other litigants; (3) the harm withdrawal might cause to the administration of justice; and (4) the degree to which withdrawal will delay the resolution of the case. Irwin, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28264 at 4.
After reviewing the record and the reasons for withdrawal noted by Attorney A. Jason Kerckhoff, the Court concludes that there is good cause to grant A. Jason Kerckhoff and Kerckhoff Law, APC's Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. The Court further concludes that the withdrawal will not prejudice justice or unduly delay resolution of the case.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Record (Doc. # 37), filed by A. Jason Kerckhoff and Kerckhoff Law, APC, is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants Luis Benitez, individually, and Johanna Benitez, by and through her guardian ad litem, Luis Benitez have forty-five (45) days to obtain new counsel. If Defendants do not respond to this Order by Friday December 21, 2007, the Court will deem Defendants as proceeding pro se.
The Court directs the Clerk of the Court to serve a copy of this Order on Defendants Luis Benitez, individually, and Johanna Benitez, by and through her guardian ad litem, Luis Benitez by mail at the following address: 3342 Imperial Avenue San Diego, CA 92102
WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge
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