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Zhang v. Parfet

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

May 4, 2017

SHUANG ZHANG, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM PARFET, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL; DENYING MOTION TO STAY RE: DKT. NOS. 37, 39

          LUCY H. KOH United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Shuang Zhang (“Plaintiff”) sues Defendant William Parfet (“Defendant”) for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. See ECF No. 1. Before the Court are Plaintiff and Plaintiff's counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel for Plaintiff, ECF No. 37, and Plaintiff's motion to stay proceedings, ECF No. 39. The Court finds these matters suitable for resolution without oral argument and accordingly VACATES the motions hearing set for May 11, 2017. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion to withdraw as Plaintiff's counsel and DENIES Plaintiff's motion to stay proceedings.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on August 1, 2016. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff asserted five causes of action against Defendant: (1) sexual harassment, in violation of California state law; (2) sex discrimination, in violation of California state law; (3) retaliation, in violation of California state law; (4) failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, in violation of California state law; and (5) wrongful termination in violation of public policy. See id.

         On October 31, 2016, Defendant answered the Complaint. ECF No. 19.

         On February 24, 2017, the parties participated in mediation with private mediator Mark Rudy, but the case did not settle. ECF No. 39-2 (“Kim Decl.”), at ¶ 12.

         On March 3, 2017, “Plaintiff terminated her attorney-client relationship with Bohm Law Group, Inc.” Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff “explicitly instructed counsel not to take any further action on her behalf.” Id. ¶ 13. On March 8, 2017, “Plaintiff requested counsel to substitute her in, representing herself pro se.” Id. ¶ 14 & Ex. A. Plaintiff also requested on March 8, 2017 that counsel ask the Court for a 90 day stay of proceedings “so that [Plaintiff] may attempt to find a new attorney.” Id.¶ 14.

         On March 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to stay proceedings, which requested that the Court stay proceedings for 90 days while Plaintiff sought new counsel. ECF No. 37 (“Mot. to Stay”). Plaintiff's motion stated that “[i]f litigation continue[d] without competent legal representation, Plaintiff would have to conduct her own discovery and respond to opposing counsel's requests and demands.” Id. at 3. Accordingly, Plaintiff stated, she would face prejudice if the Court did not stay proceedings for 90 days as Plaintiff sought new legal counsel. Id.

         On March 27, 2017, Defendant filed an opposition to the motion to stay proceedings. ECF No. 38 (“Opp. to Mot. to Stay”). Plaintiff did not file a Reply.

         On March 28, 2017, Plaintiff and Plaintiff's counsel, Andrew Kim (“Kim”) of Bohm Law Group, Inc. (“Bohm Law”), filed a motion to withdraw as Plaintiff's counsel. ECF No. 39 (“Mot. to Withdraw”). The motion asserted that Plaintiff had exercised her “absolute right to discharge an attorney” and that Plaintiff “instructed and consented to the withdrawal of current counsel.” Id. at 3; see also ECF No. 39-2, at ¶ 13.

         On March 29, 2017, Defendant filed a motion of non-opposition to the motion to withdraw. ECF No. 40.

         On May 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed a notice of substitution of counsel. ECF No. 42. The notice stated that Jody LeWitter of Siegel LeWitter and Malkani was substituting as counsel of record for Plaintiff. See id.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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