United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS
ATTORNEY OF RECORD FOR PLAINTIFF
Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
8, 2016, attorney J. Miguel Flores, on behalf of himself and
the entire firm of Rodriguez & Associates, filed a motion
to withdraw as attorney of record for Juventino Rios. (Doc.
15.) Mr. Flores asserts he is unable to continue his
representation of Mr. Rios due to a breakdown in
communications. Neither Mr. Rios nor the defendants submitted
opposition to this motion. For the following reasons, Mr.
Flores’s motion to withdraw is GRANTED.
began this suit by filing his complaint on March 16, 2016,
claiming the City of Bakersfield is liable for violation of
the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from
excessive force and unlawful searches, seizures, and arrests.
(See generally Doc. 1.) Additionally, the plaintiff
asserts Jaime Orozco, and C. Haskins are liable for
violations of the Bane Civil Rights Act, assault, battery,
false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
and violations of the California dog bite statutes. (See
generally Id.) The City filed its answer to the
complaint on April 7, 2016. (Doc. 7.) The current motion
before the court was filed on June 3, 2016 by Mr. Flores.
(Doc. 15.) Defendants then filed a statement of
non-opposition to the motion to withdraw on June 8, 2016.
(Doc. 16.) However, Plaintiff failed to file any response to
Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California
and the Local Rules of the United States District Court, E.D.
California govern the withdrawal of counsel. See LR
182(d). Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, withdrawal
of representation is allowed if a client’s conduct
“renders it unreasonably difficult for the member to
carry out the employment effectively.” Cal. R.P.C.
3-700(C)(1)(d). For withdrawal under Local Rule 182(d), an
attorney who has appeared in the action “may not
withdraw leaving the client in propria persona” without
the Court’s permission. Further, the attorney must also
ensure the client and all other parties that have appeared
are receive notice of the motion to withdraw through proper
service. CRC 3.1362(d); see also LR 182(d). The
attorney then must “provide an affidavit stating the
current or last known address or addresses of the client and
the efforts made to notify the client of the motion” to
the Court. LR 182(d). Similarly, California’s rules
require the attorney also give “due notice to the
client, allowing time for employment of other counsel.”
Cal. R.P.C. 3-700(A)(2).
Court’s decision to grant a motion to withdraw is
discretionary. See LR 182(d). To determine whether
withdrawal is appropriate, the Court may consider: (1) the
reasons for withdrawal, (2) possible prejudice to other
litigants, (3) resulting harm to the administration of
justice, and (4) any possible delay caused by the withdrawal.
Canandaigua Wine Co., Inc. v. Moldauer, 2009 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 4238, at *3-4 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2009).
Discussion and Analysis
Flores states he is unable to continue representation because
“communication between counsel and Mr. Rios has broken
down to the point where counsel is not able to provide Mr.
Rios with the standard of legal service R&A is
comfortable with.” (Doc. 15 at 3.) According to
Counsel, Plaintiff relocated to Mexico, and since his
relocation, Counsel only had the opportunity to communicate
with Plaintiff once on May 10, 2016. (Id.) On May
26, 2016, Counsel sent a certified letter to the address
Plaintiff provided, asking him to fill out a substitution of
attorney form, but there was no response. (Id. at
6.) Accordingly, it appears Mr. Rios is unable to communicate
with his client.
declaration and the proof of service of the motion to
withdraw indicate that Plaintiff and all other parties were
served with the proper documents, as required under the
California Rules. Defendants filed a statement of
non-opposition to the motion to withdraw (Doc. 16 at 1), and
there is no evidence the withdrawal of Counsel will cause
prejudice to Defendants. In addition, the case has not yet
been scheduled by the Court and no trial has been set, so the
withdrawal is unlikely to cause delay to the proceedings.
Finally, the Court does not find there would be any risk of
harm to the administration of justice.
Conclusion and Order
Miguel Flores followed the procedural and substantive
requirements set forth in the California Rules of
Professional Conduct and the Local Rules when submitting the
motion to withdraw as Plaintiff’s attorney, and stated
adequate reasons for the withdrawal. Thus, the Court is
exercising its discretion to grant the motion to withdraw.
See LR 182.