United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING COUNSELS' MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS
ATTORNEYS OF RECORD (Doc. 153)
Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
V. Kassouni and Angela C. Thompson seek to withdraw as
attorneys of record for Plaintiffs Darrell Archer and Keitha
Darquea. (Doc. 153) In response, Plaintiffs filed a statement
of non-opposition to the motion. (Doc. 156) For the following
reasons, the motion to withdraw is GRANTED.
proceeding pro se, initiated this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by filing on
February 23, 2012. (Doc. 1) Plaintiffs proceeded pro
se until July 2, 2015, at which time the Court approved
substitutions of attorney for Timothy Kassouni and Angela
Thompson. (Docs. 92-95)
trial was held in the matter, beginning August 4, 2015. The
jury found in favor of Plaintiffs on their claims that the
defendants violated Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights
by unlawfully seizing their personal property without a
warrant, and that these Defendants deprived Plaintiffs of
their due process rights by failing to provide adequate
notice and opportunity to be heard prior to seizing their
personal property. The jury awarded compensatory damages to
Plaintiffs of $937.36 “plus interest due as of [August
6, 2015]” against Defendant Gipson and $1.00 against
Joseph Burke and/or J.E. Burke Construction, Inc. (Doc. 121)
In addition, the jury awarded punitive damages of $800.00
against Defendant Gipson and $200.00 against J.E. Burke
Construction, Inc. (Doc. 122). Final judgment was entered by
the Court on August 10, 2015. (Doc. 125).
filed a motion for attorney fees, which was granted in part
on December 28, 2015. (Doc. 133) Plaintiffs filed a request
for reconsideration on January 25, 2016 (Doc. 134), as well
as a Notice of Appeal of the Court's order on January 27,
2016. (Doc. 135)
March 8, 2016, Timothy Kassouni filed a motion to withdraw as
counsel before the Ninth Circuit. In addition, Angela Thompson
filed a motion to withdraw on April 1, 2016. The Court
granted the requests to withdraw as counsel on June 10, 2016,
and terminated Mr. Kassouni and Ms. Thompson as counsel. The
Ninth Circuit dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal for failure to
prosecute on September 13, 2016.
March 14, 2017, Mr. Kassouni and Ms. Thompson filed the
motion to withdraw as counsel now pending before the Court.
(Doc. 153) Plaintiffs filed a notice of non-opposition to the
motion. Defendants did not file a response to the motion. The
Court found the matter suitable for decision without a
hearing, and the matter was taken under submission pursuant
to Local Rule 230(g).
Discussion and Analysis
of counsel is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct
of the State Bar of California, and the Local Rules of the
United States District Court, Eastern District of California.
See LR 182. The withdrawal of representation is
permitted under the Rules of Professional Conduct if a client
“renders it unreasonably difficult for the member to
carry our employment effectively.” Cal. R.P.C.
3-700(C)(1)(d). Local Rule 182(d) provides:
Unless otherwise provided herein, an attorney who has
appeared may not withdraw leaving the client in propria
persona without leave of court upon noticed motion and notice
to the client and all other parties who have appeared. The
attorney shall 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 withdraw.
Id. Likewise, California's Rules require the
notice of motion and declaration to be served on the client
and other parties who have appeared in the case. CRC
decision to grant withdrawal is within the discretion of the
Court, and leave “may be granted subject to such
appropriate conditions as the Court deems fit.” LR
182; see also Canandaigua Wine Co., Inc. v.
Moldauer, 2009 WL 989141, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 14,
2009) (“The decision to grant or deny counsel's
motion to withdraw is committed to the discretion of the
trial court.”). Factors the Court may consider include:
(1) the reasons for withdrawal, (2) prejudice that may be
caused to the other litigants, (3) harm caused to the
administration of justice; and (4) delay to the resolution of
the case caused by withdrawal. Id., 2009 WL 989141,
Kassouni and Ms. Thompson report, “there has been an
irremediable breakdown in communication between me and the
plaintiffs, such that the attorney-client relationship is no
longer a viable one.” (Doc. 153-2 at 2, Kassouni Decl.
¶ 2(a); Doc. 153-3 at 2, Thompson Decl. ¶ 2(a)) In
addition, Mr. Kassouni and Ms. Thomspon assert that
Plaintiffs “have breached, and are in continuing breach
of, an agreement and obligation to me as to expenses and
fees.” (Id., ¶2(b)). The ...