United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE SIGN, PICTORIAL AND DISPLAY INDUSTRY WELFARE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
PS SERVICES CO., LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL, Re: ECF
BEELER United States Magistrate Judge
Gregoratos moves to withdraw as counsel for the defendant PS
Services Co. LLC.Peter Steele, the managing member of
PS Services, agreed to Mr. Gregoratos's request to
withdraw. The plaintiffs do not oppose Mr.
court can decide the matter without oral argument and vacates
the April 29, 2018 hearing. Civil L.R. 7-1(b). The court
giants the unopposed motion and - for the reasons discussed
below - directs Mr. Gregoratos to accept service on behalf of
PS Services until substitute counsel appears.
Civil Local Rule 1 l-5(a), "[c]ounsel may not withdraw
from an action until relieved by order of Convert after
written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the
client and to all other parties who have appeared in the
case." Until the client obtains other representation,
motions to withdraw as counsel may be granted on the
condition that current counsel continue to serve on the
client all papers from the court and from the opposing
parties. Civil L.R. 1 l-5(b).
is governed by the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
Nehad v. Mukasey, 535 F.3d 962, 970 (9th Cir. 2008)
(applying California Rules of Professional Conduct to
attorney withdrawal); see also Dieter v.
Regents of Univ. of Cal, 963 F.Supp. 908, 910 (E.D. Cal.
1997). Rule 3-700(C) provides that an attorney may withdraw
if the client "knowingly and freely assents to
temination of the employment." Cal. R. Prof 1 Conduct
compliance with California Rule of Professional Conduct
3-700(A)(2), counsel may not "withdraw from employment
until [counsel] has taken reasonable steps to avoid
reasonably foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the
client." These steps include: (1) giving due notice to
the client; (2) allowing time for employment of other
counsel, pursuant to Rule 3-700(D); and (3) complying with
applicable laws and rules. Cal. R. Prof 1 Conduct
3-700(A)(2); El Hage v. U.S. Sec. Assocs., Inc., No.
06-CV-7828-TEH, 2007 WL 4328809, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10,
decision to permit counsel to withdraw is within the sound
discretion of the trial court. United States v.
Carter, 560 F.3d 1107, 1113 (9th Cir. 2009). Courts
consider several factors when deciding a motion for
withdrawal, including: "(1) the reasons counsel seeks to
withdraw; (2) the possible prejudice that withdrawal may
cause to other litigants; (3) the harm that withdrawal might
cause to the administration of justice; and (4) the extent to
which withdrawal will delay resolution of the case."
Deal v. Countrywide Home Loans, No. 09-CV-01643-SBA,
2010 WL 3702459, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2010).
parties settled their case in a written settlement agreement
and stipulated to entity of judgment against PS Services in
the form of a Judgment by Consent. Mr. Gregoratos advised Mr.
Steele, the managing partner of PS Services, dining this
process. More specifically, they had an oral agreement that
Mr. Gregoratos would review and advise Mr. Steele, at no
charge, regarding the Judgment by Consent, Settlement
Agreement, and Stipulation for Entity of Judgment filed on
August 17, 2017. As part of that advisement, Mr. Gregoratos
told Mr. Steele that if he failed to make the payments
required by the Stipulation, the plaintiffs were entitled to
collect the entire judgment. He also told Mr. Steele that he
did not handle civil and business matters, and if the case
needed to be litigated in any fashion, Mr. Gregoratos would
not be able to represent him. It was with that understanding
that Mr. Gregoratos agreed to assist Mr. Steele at no cost in
negotiating and reviewing the Settlement
February, the plaintiff moved for a writ of execution because
PS Services did not make its payments. The court issued
the writ of execution. On March 13, 2018, the plaintiffs
served Mr. Steele and PS Services with a notice of deposition
for Mr. Steele and a request for production of
documents. On March 15, 2018, Messieurs Gregoratos
and Steele agreed that Mr. Steele would need to find new
counsel and that Mr. Gregoratos could not represent him in
the deposition or otherwise in the case. Mr.
Gregoratos advised Mr. Steele that he needed to find new
counsel and gave him two referrals. PS Services has not
retained new counsel, and Mr. Steele "wishes to proceed
pro se, as a ...