United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL FOR
L. NUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on David Diepenbrock and
Diepenbrock Elkin Gleason's (collectively,
“DEG”) motion to withdraw as counsel for
Defendant Lynley Ford (“Defendant”). (ECF No.
38.) Attorney of record for Defendant, David A. Dieprenbrock
(“Diepenbrock”), submitted a supplemental
declaration in support of DEG's motion to withdraw as
counsel. (ECF No. 40.) No. oppositions to this motion have
Factual and Procedural Background
underlying Complaint against Defendant was filed on April 24,
2017, and removed to this Court on May 30, 2017. (ECF No. 1
¶1.) Defendant engaged DEG to represent her in this case
in May 2018, and the parties subsequently entered into a fee
agreement. (ECF No. 38 at 3.) Shortly after, Defendant
retained a consulting expert through DEG, and under the
agreement with that expert, Defendant was solely responsible
for payment of the expert's fees. (ECF No. 38 at 3.) DEG
alleges Defendant has refused to pay a $1, 500 balance owed
to the expert. (ECF No. 28 at 4.)
Defendant initially engaged DEG, the matter was stayed
pending the parties' completion of a Voluntary Dispute
Resolution Program session, which was ultimately held on
October 10, 2018. (ECF No. 38 at 4.) DEG alleges that after
the session, the already strained attorney-client
relationship “completely broke down.” (ECF No. 38
October 29, 2018, DEG sent Defendant a letter by certified
mail stating DEG's intent to withdraw from its
representation of Defendant. (ECF No. 38 at 4; ECF No. 38-2
at 2-3.) The letter advised Defendant to seek new counsel
immediately, and if new counsel was not in place by November
15, 2018, DEG would file a motion to withdraw as counsel.
(ECF No. 38-2 at 2-3.)
November 5, 2018, Defendant sent an email to Diepenbrock
stating, “Please do not do any work on my behalf unless
I specifically request it until my new attorney is in place
which is imminent.” (ECF No. 38-3 at 2.) Defendant
directed an individual named Larry Hawk to retrieve her files
from DEG's office on November 6, 2018. (ECF No. 38 at 4.)
DEG alleges Defendant's conduct since September 10, 2018,
has breached DEG's fee arrangement. (ECF No. 38 at 4.)
filed this motion on December 21, 2018. (ECF No. 38.) As of
the filing of this motion, Defendant had not identified or
appointed new counsel. Defendant has not formally objected to
the termination of the attorney-client relationship, and she
has not filed an opposition to this motion. No. trial date
has been set in this case.
Standard of Law
local rules of this district require an attorney who would
withdraw and leave his or her client without representation
to obtain leave of the court upon a noticed motion. E.D. Cal.
L.R. 182(d). Local Rule 182(d) also requires an attorney to
provide notice to the client and all other parties who have
appeared, and an affidavit stating the current or last known
address of the client. Finally, to comply with Local Rule
182(d), the attorney must conform to the requirements of the
California Rules of Professional Conduct. Id.
Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700 provides several grounds
upon which an attorney may seek to withdraw, including where
“[t]he client knowingly and freely assents to
termination of the employment, ” Cal. R. Prof. Conduct
3-700(C)(5), and where client's conduct has
“rendered[ed] it unreasonably difficult for the member
to carry out the employment effectively.” Cal. R. Prof.
decision to grant or deny a motion to withdraw is within the
court's discretion. McNally v. Eye Dog Found. for the
Blind, Inc., No. 09-01174, 2011 WL 1087117, at *1 (E.D.
Cal. Mar. 24, 2011). District courts within this circuit have
considered several factors when evaluating a motion to
withdraw, including the reason for withdrawal, prejudice to
the client, prejudice to the other litigants, harm to the
administration of justice, and possible delay. See
e.g., Deal v. Countrywide Home Loans, No.
09-01643, 2010 WL 3702459, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2010);
CE Res., Inc. v. Magellan Group, LLC, No. 08-02999,
2009 WL 3367489, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 14, 2009); Beard
v. Shuttermart of Cal., Inc., No. 07-594, 2008 WL
410694, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 13, 2008).
asks the Court to grant its request to withdraw as counsel
due to a strained attorney-client relationship and the
desires of both parties. (ECF No. 38 at 3.) DEG expresses
serious concern over its ability to represent Defendant
through trial in this case. (ECF ...