The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jacqueline Scott Corley United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER RE: MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL (Dkt. No. 41)
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's counsel's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel per Local Rule 11-5. (Dkt. No. 41). Having reviewed the papers and had the benefit of argument 21 on May 30, 2012, the Court GRANTS the motion.
Tamara Johnston filed suit against the County of Sonoma, its elected Sheriff, and 24 three deputy sheriffs who responded to a 911 call for assistance from Johnston's neighbor. 25 The case originally asserted four claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: excessive force, 26 Monell, unlawful seizure and imprisonment, and forced medical treatment. District Court 27 Judge Breyer previously granted Defendants' Motion to Dismiss in part and Defendants' 28 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment such that the only remaining claim is a claim for excessive force against Defendants John Gillette and Jeffrey Toney. (Dkt. Nos. 16, 29). On 2 Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. No. 36). Trial is scheduled to 4 commence on June 11, 2012.
Counsel. Counsel asserts that it has become unreasonably difficult for him to effectively 7 carry out his employment as Plaintiff's counsel. (Dkt. No. 41-4, ¶ 9). On May 30, 2012, 8 counsel informed the Court in camera of the circumstances giving rise to the motion.
Pursuant to the Local Rules, "[c]counsel may not withdraw from an action until relieved 11 by order of the Court after written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the client 12 and to all other parties who have appeared in the case." Civ. L.R. 11-5(a). Further, "[w]hen withdrawal by an attorney from an action is not accompanied by simultaneous appearance of 14 substitute counsel or agreement of the party to appear pro se, leave to withdraw may be 15 subject to the condition that papers may continue to be served on counsel for forwarding 16 purposes, unless and until the client appears by other counsel or pro se." Civ. L.R. 11-5(b). In 17 this district, the conduct of counsel, including withdrawal of representation, is governed by 18 the standards of professional conduct required of members of the State Bar of California. See 19 14, 2008). Under California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700(C)(1)(d), an attorney may 21 request permission to withdraw if the client's "conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for 22 the [attorney] to carry out the employment effectively." The decision to grant or deny a 23 motion to withdraw as counsel is committed to the sound discretion of the trial court. See 24
Here, counsel's motion states that "Plaintiff has failed to respond in any way" to
26 correspondence and "continued representation of Plaintiff would result in an unreasonable 27 financial burden" on counsel. (Dkt. No. 41, p. 3). Plaintiff's counsel, Mr. deSaulles, 28 explained the basis of the motion in camera at oral argument. Plaintiff was represented for
April 27, 2012, the parties filed their consent to have the case reassigned to the undersigned 3
On May 18, 2012, Plaintiff's Counsel filed the underlying Motion to be Relieved as
California Native Plant Society v. United States E.P.A., 2008 WL 4911162 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 20 LaGrand v. Stewart, 133 F.3d 1253, 1269 (9th Cir. 1998).
purposes of the hearing by her husband, Richard Johnston, who is an attorney admitted to 2 practice before this Court. Mr. Johnston indicated that Plaintiff does not oppose the motion to 3 withdraw, but seeks a continuance of the trial date if the motion is ...