This case was on calendar for William A. Munoz's motion for an order permitting Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant Johnny Grivette and for Richard Linkert's motion for an order permitting Matheny, Sears, Linkert and Jaime, LLP to withdraw as counsel for Christopher Warrent. The court ordered the motions submitted without argument.
The case arises out of plaintiff's purchase of a number of residential mortgages originated by defendant Triduanum Financial, Inc.; plaintiff alleges that defendant Grivette, as president of Triduanum, knew or should have known that co-defendants Warren and Cavell misappropriated substantial sums of money in connection with the transaction. ECF No. 1. Criminal proceedings were filed against Warren and Cavell. See United States v. Warren, CR. No. S-09-121 JAM.
Counsel for Grivette avers that Triduanum's insurer, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, retained Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney to represent Grivette's interests as well as providing a defense to Triduanum, Cavell and Warren. Declaration of Gregory Bastian, ECF No. 81-3 ¶ 2. The case thereafter was stayed in light of the criminal prosecution. ECF Nos. 40, 73.
At some point, Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney learned that Lloyd's had filed a rescission action against Triduanum, Grivette, Warren and Cavell. ECF No. 81-3 ¶ 5. Eventually the firm learned that Grivette had agreed to forfeit and release his rights to a defense and to bond providing him a defense in this case. Id. ¶ 7 & Exs. 1 & 2; Declaration of William Munoz, ECF No. 81-4 ¶¶ 3, 5 & Ex. 3.
Counsel for Warren avers that they seek to withdraw because their client wishes to proceed pro se. Declaration of Richard Linkert, ECF. No. 79-1 ¶¶ 2-3 & Ex. A. Indeed, this court had earlier rejected Warren's request to proceed pro se because counsel had not withdrawn. ECF No. 77.
Under Local Rule 182(d), an attorney may not withdraw without leave of court after giving notice to his client and must act in conformance with California's Rules of Professional Conduct. In this case both counsel have satisfied the rule's requirements by serving their clients, listing their last known addresses. ECF Nos. 80, 82.
The circumstances described by Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney show that its duty to carry out its employment has been rendered "unreasonably difficult." CAL. RULES PROF. CONDUCT 3-700(C)(1)(d). Moreover, in light of Warren's desire to represent himself, the motion filed by Matheny, Sears, Linkert & Jaime is well-taken. CAL. RULES PROF. CONDUCT 3-700(C)(5).
1. Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney's motion to withdraw as counsel for defendant Grivette (ECF No. 81) is granted;
2. Matheny, Sears, Linkert & Jaime's motion to withdraw as counsel for defendant Warren (ECF No. 79) is granted;
3. Defendant Warren shall represent himself going forward, and the Clerk of the Court is directed to modify the docket of this case to reflect Mr. Warren's address for service provided in his Notice of Change of Address filed on August 23, 2012 (ECF 87);
3. Counsel are directed to serve a copy of this order on their respective former clients; and
4. This case is stayed until December 1, 2012; each party is directed to file by November 23, 2012, a status report addressing whether the stay ...