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Estate of Przysiecki v. Eifert

January 6, 2010

THE ESTATE OF KYLE PRZYSIECKI, ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHANNON DUANE EIFERT, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matters before the Court are two Motions to Withdraw as Counsel filed by Plaintiffs' Attorneys. (Docs. # 92, 94).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs' action arises out of the death of Kyle Przysiecki, a 15-year-old boy who was killed in a motor vehicle collision. On January 5, 2007 Plaintiff Michael Przysiecki, the deceased's father, acting on his own behalf and in his capacity as the administrator of his son's estate, and Plaintiff Venus Hicksaw, the deceased's mother, acting in her capacity as an administrator of her son's estate, initiated this action by filing the complaint. (Doc. # 1). On December 4, 2007, the Court granted Plaintiff Venus Hisaw's Motion to Intervene on her own behalf. (Doc. # 53). The Estate of Kyle Przysiecki ("the Estate"), Michael Przysiecki and Venus Hisaw are all represented by the law firm of Alvila & Peros, LLP.

On October 29, 2009, Alvila & Peros filed a First Amended Motion to Withdraw as Counsel ("Motion to Withdraw"). (Doc. # 92). In the Motion to Withdraw, Alvila & Peros requests permission to withdraw from representing the Estate and Venus Hisaw because of a conflict of interest. Id. On November 4, 2009, Alvila & Peros filed its second Motion to Withdraw as Counsel ("Motion to Remove Attorneys") seeking to remove three attorneys from the docket who are currently listed as representing Plaintiffs because those attorneys have left the firm. (Doc. # 94).

ANALYSIS

1. Motion to Withdraw

The Motion to Withdraw contends a settlement agreement was reached in principle, but that Avila & Peros was "unable to secure the signature of [Venus Hisaw] on the release agreements." (Doc. # 92-2 at 3). The Declaration of Michael Avila, attached to the motion, states that the firm is "on the opposite side of a legal dispute" with Venus Hisaw, which creates a conflict of interest requiring the firm to withdraw from representing her and the Estate, in which she has an interest. (Doc. # 92-3 at 2).

In the Southern District of California, Local Civil Rule 83.4 requires counsel "comply with the standards of professional conduct required of members of the State Bar of California . . . which are now adopted as standards of professional conduct of this court." Local Civil Rule 83.4 also states "[t]his specification will not be interpreted to be exhaustive of the standards of conduct," and references the model rules of the American Bar Association ("ABA"). Finally, even in the absence of a specific applicable rule, "[n]o attorney permitted to practice before this court will engage in any conduct which degrades or impugns the integrity of the court or in any manner interferes with the administration of justice within the Court." Id.

California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700 provides: Rule 3-700 Termination of Employment

(A) In General.

(1) If permission for termination of employment is required by the rules of a tribunal, a member shall not withdraw from employment in a proceeding before that tribunal without its permission.

(2) A member shall not withdraw from employment until the member has taken reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, including giving due notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, complying with rule 3-700(D), and complying with applicable laws and rules. . . .

(C) Permissive Withdrawal. [If the mandatory withdrawal provisions of 3-700(B) are inapplicable,] a member may not request permission to withdraw in matters pending before a tribunal, and may not withdraw in other ...


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