United States District Court, S.D. California
U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
BAY CLUB FAIRBANKS RANCH, LLC d/b/a Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., Defendants.
Y. Park, Sue J. Noh, Jennifer L. Boulton, Natalie Nardecchia,
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Los Angeles,
CA, Connie K. Liem, Lauren Nicole Crosby, U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, San Diego, CA, for
Kathryn Boyd Fox, Tracy Anne Warren, J. Patrick Allen Allen,
Buchalter, APC, San Diego, CA, for Defendant Bay Club
Fairbanks Ranch, LLC.
Jensen, Jim Douglas Newman, The Hanover Law Office, Glendale,
CA, for Defendant Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc.
GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY
Thomas J. Whelan, United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission's ("EEOC") motion to
disqualify one of Defendant Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC
d/b/a Fairbanks Ranch Country Club's ("Bay
Club") attorneys. Bay Club opposes. The Court decides
the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument.
See Civ. L.R. 7.1(d.1). For the following reasons, the Court
GRANTS the motion [Doc. 40].
Bay Club is represented in this lawsuit by attorneys from
Buchalter APC, and attorney Mark Koorenny of the Koorenny Law
Group. Koorenny has served as Bay Club's general counsel
since 2009. (Koorenny Decl. [Doc. 49-2] ¶ 2.)
motion, Plaintiff EEOC seeks to disqualify Koorenny under
California Rule of Professional Conduct 3.7(a), which
restricts an attorney's ability to act as an advocate in
a case where the attorney will also be a witness. (P
& A [Doc. 40-1] 1:7-9.) Bay Club opposes the motion
on the basis that (1) the EEOC unreasonably delayed in filing
the motion, (2) Bay Club will suffer substantial prejudice,
(3) it is unclear whether Koorenny will testify at trial, and
(4) it has consented to Koorenny's dual role as attorney
and witness. For the reasons that follow, the Court will
grant the EEOC's motion.
trial court's authority to disqualify an attorney derives
from the power inherent in every court `[t]o control in
furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial
officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected
with a judicial proceeding before it, in every matter
pertaining thereto." Kennedy v. Eldridge, 201
Cal.App.4th 1197, 1204, 135 Cal.Rptr.3d 545 (2011)
(alterations in original). "[D]isqualification motions
involve a conflict between the clients' right to counsel
of their choice and the need to maintain ethical standards of
professional responsibility." Id. "The
paramount concern must be to preserve public trust in the
scrupulous administration of justice and the integrity of the
bar." Id. "The important right to counsel
of one's choice must yield to ethical considerations that
affect the fundamental principles of our judicial