United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS
DEFENDANTS’ COUNSEL OF RECORD 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Patrick J. Folan, Steven M. Brennan, Michael
Minguet, Brian J. St. John, Robert P. Donovan, and Vimal K.
Shah’s Motion to Withdraw as counsel for Defendants in
the case at bar. (Mot., ECF No. 32.) Plaintiff has not
opposed the Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court GRANTS the Motion to Withdraw and
ORDERS Defendants Roadtex LTL, Inc. and ATL
Group LLC to obtain new counsel by September 18,
Adam Hahka, on behalf of himself and those similarly
situated, filed the instant action in the Los Angeles
Superior Court on July 8, 2015, seeking relief for various
wage and rest break violations under California law. (Compl.,
Not. of Removal, ECF No. 1-1.) Defendants removed the matter
to this Court on September 25, 2015. (Not. of Removal, ECF
No. 1.) Parties filed several joint stipulations to stay the
action pending mediation, which the Court granted. (ECF Nos.
15, 17, 19- 20, 24-27.) The case is currently stayed through
September 18, 2016, with a scheduling conference set for
October 3, 2016. (ECF Nos. 27, 29.)
29, 2016, Defendants’ counsel, and their respective law
firms, filed a Motion to Withdraw as counsel of record for
Defendants Roadtex LTL, Inc. and ATL Group, LLC. (Mot., ECF
No. 32.) According to counsel, the relationship between
Defendants and their chosen counsel has so deteriorated that
counsel can no longer perform their professional duties
effectively. (Id. 3.) Plaintiff has not opposed this
Motion is now before the Court.
the local rules of this Court, “[a]n attorney may not
withdraw as counsel except by leave of court.” L.R.
83-2.3.2; see also Darby v. City of Torrance, 810
F.Supp. 275, 276 (C.D. Cal.1992). “A motion for leave
to withdraw must be made upon written notice given reasonably
in advance to the client and to all other parties who have
appeared in the action, ” and must be for good cause.
L.R. 83-2.3.2. However, “[a]n attorney requesting leave
to withdraw from representation of an organization of any
kind (including corporations, limited liability corporations,
partnerships, limited liability partnerships, unincorporated
associations, trusts) must give written notice to the
organization of the consequences of its inability to appear
pro se.” L.R. 83-2.3.4.
decision to grant or deny a motion to withdraw as counsel for
a party is within the Court’s discretion. See,
e.g., Huntington Learning Ctrs., Inc. v. Educ.
Gateway, Inc., 2009 WL 2337863 at *1 (C.D. Cal. June 28,
Court finds good cause for withdrawal. In their Motion,
counsel details how Defendants have affirmatively cut their
attorneys out of settlement discussions and filed ex parte
letters in the related state court matter without
counsel’s knowledge. (Donovan Decl. ¶ 5-6, ECF No.
32-4.) With a client that refuses to listen to the advice of
counsel or include counsel in settlement negotiations, the
Court agrees that the attorney-client relationship is
irreparably broken. See Cal. R. Prof. Conduct
3-700(C)(1)(d) (permissive withdrawal allowed when
client’s conduct “renders it unreasonably
difficult for the member to carry out the employment
effectively.”); see also Deal v. Countrywide Home
Loans, No. C 09-01643 SBA, 2010 WL 3702459, at *2-4
(N.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2010) (finding withdrawal warranted
where the client has made it unreasonably difficult to carry
out course of representation effectively). Furthermore, the
Motion complies with the Local Rules’ notice
requirements. Counsel has sent written notice to Defendants
of the consequences of their withdrawal and the necessity to
retain new counsel in order for the case to proceed. (Donovan
Decl. ¶ 10.)
Court finds that allowing counsel to withdraw will not unduly
delay the resolution of this action or prejudice Plaintiff
(who did not oppose the Motion), so long as Defendants find
suitable representation. Without counsel, this matter cannot
proceed because Defendants are business entities, and a
corporation may not appear in federal court pro se. C.D. Cal.
R. 83-2.2.2 (“Only individuals may represent themselves
pro se. No organization or entity of any other kind
(including corporations …) may appear in any action or
proceeding unless represented by an attorney permitted to
practice before this Court under L.R. 83-2. 1.”);
see also Rowland v. Cal. Men’s Colony, Unit II
Men's Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993)
(“It has been the law for the better part of two
centuries ... that a corporation may appear in the federal
courts only through licensed counsel.”); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1654 (“In all courts of the United States the
parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or
by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are
permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.”).
While parties appear to be engaged in good faith settlement
discussions, any prior conversations between Plaintiff and
Defendants cannot be approved without adequate defense
counsel. Thus, the case as it stands right now is at a halt.
These discussions can resume once Defendants have secured
this matter is stayed until September 18, 2016-ample time for
Defendants to secure new counsel before the ...