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Kassab v. San Diego Police Department

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 6, 2013

STEVE KASSAB, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants.

ORDER (1) GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY (2) DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (3) GRANTING MOTION FOR TO STAY PROCEEDINGS [DKT. NOs. 193, 194, 203]

GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Attorney Harold Dickens' motion to withdraw as counsel, Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel, and Plaintiff's motion to stay the action. (Dkt. Nos. 203, 193, 194.) For the reasons set out below, the Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw as counsel, DENIES Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel, and GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to stay the action until June 6, 2014.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Steve Kassab's ("Plaintiff") amended complaint alleged several ยง1983 claims against Defendants San Diego Police Department and others ("Defendants"), including false arrest and false imprisonment, assault and intimidation, and excessive force and battery. (Dkt. No. 49.) Plaintiff also alleged state law civil rights violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Id.) On September 9, 2009, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff's federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims. (Dkt. No. 123.) Mr. Kassab appealed the Court's ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Upon review, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. Kassab v. San Diego Police Department, 453 F.Appx. 747, 748 (9th Cir. 2011). The Ninth Circuit reversed summary judgment on only one issue - Kassab's excessive force claim that "he was detained in a police car for more than four hours, with the windows rolled up, no air conditioning, and an interior temperature of 115 degrees." Id.

On January 11, 2013, the Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss parties and limit the issues to be tried. (Dkt. No. 181.) In that order, the Court dismissed all but two Defendants, San Diego Police Officers Skinner and Hernandez and held the only issue to be presented at trial would be the one excessive force count that was reversed and remanded pursuant to the aforementioned Ninth Circuit ruling.

On April 17, 2013, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Court Order Dismissing Defendants and Limiting Issues at Trial. (Dkt. No. 184.) Plaintiff appealed the Court's Order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (Dkt. No. 186.) On May 28, 2013, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. (Dkt. No.190.)

On June 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion to continue the case and a motion to appointment counsel. (Dkt. Nos. 193, 194.)

On June 7, 2013, Defendants filed an opposition to Plaintiff's motions. (Dkt. No. 196.) On June 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed a reply. (Dkt. No. 201.)

On June 7, 2013, Judge McCurine instructed Plaintiff's attorney Harold Dickens to show cause why he failed to appear for an in-person status conference on that same date. (Dkt. No. 195.) At the OSC hearing held on June 26, 2013, counsel Harold Dickens, Esq., appeared on behalf of Plaintiff.

On July 1, 2013, counsel Harold Dickens filed a motion to withdraw as attorney for Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 203.) Defendants filed a statement of non-opposition. (Dkt. No. 205.)

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Withdraw as Counsel

Harold Dickens' filed a motion to withdraw as counsel of record for Plaintiff Steve Kassab on the ground that irreconcilable differences had arisen between Dickens and Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 203 at 2.) Mr. Dickens also filed a declaration of service, verifying service upon opposing counsel and Plaintiff Kassab. (Id.)

An attorney may not withdraw as counsel leaving the client in propria persona except by leave of court. See L. Civ. R. 83.3(g)(3); 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, No. 97-4737 , 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28264, at *3-4 (N.D.Cal. Dec. 1, 2004) (citing ...


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