McEnroe v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02190

ORDER by Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. GRANTING (49], {{54}} MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY AND STAYING ALL DEADLINES.

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SARA MCENROE, 7 Case No. 15-cv-02190-HSG Plaintiff, 8 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO v. WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY AND 9 STAYING ALL DEADLINES AT&T MOBILITY SERVICES LLC, 10 Re: Dkt. Nos. 49, 54 Defendant. 11 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Plaintiff has been represented by Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller, and Moskowitz LLP 14 ("Counsel") since April 14, 2015. Dkt. No. 1. On March 24, 2016, Counsel moved to withdraw 15 because Plaintiff has sued Counsel for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in 16 Sonoma County Superior Court. Dkt. No. 49 ("Motion") ¶¶ 2, 4. The Motion is unopposed. The 17 Court held a hearing on April 7, 2016, at which Plaintiff and Counsel appeared, and GRANTED 18 the Motion. 19 I. ANALYSIS 20 Under Civil Local Rule 11-5(a), "[c]ounsel may not withdraw from an action until relieved 21 by order of Court after written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the client and to all 22 other parties who have appeared in the case." The local rules also provide that when withdrawal 23 of counsel is not accompanied by simultaneous appearance of substitute counsel or a party's 24 agreement to appear pro se, the motion to withdraw can be granted on the condition that all papers 25 from the court and from the opposing party shall continue to be served on current counsel for 26 forwarding purposes until the client appears by other counsel or pro se. Civ. L.R. 11-5(b). 27 Withdrawal is governed by the California Rules of Professional Conduct. See j2 Glob. 28 Commc'ns, Inc. v. Blue Jay, Inc., No. C 08-4254PJH, 2009 WL 464768, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 1 2009). California Rule of Professional Conduct 3–700(c) provides that an attorney may request 2 permission to withdraw if the client's "conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for the [attorney] 3 to carry out the employment effectively" or if the attorney "believes in good faith, in a proceeding 4 pending before a tribunal, that the tribunal will find the existence of other good cause for 5 withdrawal." The decision to grant or deny a motion to withdraw is within the Court's discretion. 6 Id.; Gong v. City of Alameda, No. C 03–05495 THE, 2008 WL 160964, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 7 2008). 8 Counsel has confirmed that he has taken reasonable steps to avoid prejudice to Plaintiff by 9 serving Plaintiff, through her attorney, written notice of Counsel's intention to withdraw. Mot. 10 ¶ 5. 11 On the record before the Court, the Court finds good cause to allow Counsel to withdraw 12 based on a breakdown of the attorney-client relationship. See generally Adams v. City of Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Hayward, No. 14-CV-05482-KAW, 2015 WL 5316124, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2015) (granting 14 motion to withdraw). The record reflects that Plaintiff's state court action against Counsel for 15 professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty renders it unreasonably difficult for Counsel 16 to carry out this employment effectively. Because Plaintiff has not yet engaged substitute counsel 17 or agreed to proceed pro se, the Motion is granted on the condition that Counsel continue to serve 18 Plaintiff with all papers from Defendant and the Court until Plaintiff files notice of a substitution 19 of counsel or intent to proceed pro se, as provided by Civil Local Rule 11–5(b). 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 2 1 II. CONCLUSION 2 As explained on the record at the hearing, the Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw. 3 Plaintiff has thirty days from the date of the hearing to retain substitute counsel if she can (and 4 wishes to) do so. At the Case Management Conference set for May 10, 2016 at 2:00 p.m., 5 Plaintiff must be prepared to proceed pro se (in other words, to represent herself) if she does not 6 retain substitute counsel before that date. All deadlines in this action are hereby STAYED until 7 further ordered of the Court, and the parties must be prepared to discuss the setting of a full 8 pretrial and trial schedule at the Case Management Conference. 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 Dated: 4/12/2016 11 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. 12 United States District Judge Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3