UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
January 2, 2013
RAYMOND ALVANDI, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED,
NIKOO MANUFACTURING, INC., DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: M. James Lorenz United States District Court Judge
ORDER GRANTING EX PARTE MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL OF RECORD FOR DEFENDANT [doc. #20]
DLA Piper is counsel of record for defendant Nikoo Manufacturing Inc. ("Nikoo"). Counsel now seeks to withdraw as counsel of record because Nikoo has failed to make payment for services already rendered.
The decision to permit counsel to withdraw is within the sound discretion of the trial court. United States v. Carter, 560 F.3d 1107, 1113 (9th Cir. 2009). The court must consider factors such as the reason counsel seeks to withdraw, the possible prejudice caused to the litigants, and the extent to which withdrawal may delay resolution of the case. Id.
Failure to pay attorney's fees can be a valid ground for withdrawal. See Canandaigua Wine Co. v. Edwin Moldauer, 2009 WL 89141, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Jan.14, 2009); Cal. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3--700(C)(1)(f).
Defendant has been given timely notice of the motion. Because the litigation is at an early stage, counsel has taken reasonable steps to prevent prejudice against Nikoo and the opposing party. But defendant is a corporation and thus unable to defend this action pro se. Thus, if Nikoo does not obtain new counsel, its answer will be stricken and default entered against it.
Accordingly, good cause appearing, plaintiff's ex parte motion to withdraw as counsel is GRANTED. Nikoo shall obtain counsel within 30 days of this Order. If new counsel does not make a timely appearance on behalf of Nikoo, plaintiff shall file a request for entry of default within 14 days of Nikoo's failure to obtain new counsel. Upon entry of default, plaintiff shall timely contact the chambers of the undersigned to obtain a hearing date for his motion for default judgment which should be filed within three days of obtaining the hearing date.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
HON. BARBARA L, MAJOR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE ALL PARTIES/COUNSEL INCLUDING NIKOO MANUFACTURING INCORPORATED AMIR PAZULI SHARIF 7545 SHOUP AVE. WEST HILLS, CA 91307
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