Moralez v. Circle A Foodmart and Gas et al

ORDER by Judge Kandis A. Westmore granting Michael Welch's {{54}} Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Pursuant to Civil L.R. 11-5(b), counsel shall continue to receive notices via ECF and shall forward all documents unto his former clients until a substitution of counsel is filed. (kawlc1, COURT STAFF)

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02759

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 FRANCISCA MORALEZ, Case No. 4:15-cv-02759-KAW 8 Plaintiff, ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL 9 v. Re: Dkt. No. 54 10 CIRCLE A FOODMART AND GAS, et al., 11 Defendants. 12 Presently, Defendants Circle A Foodmart and Gas and Gurnath Singh are represented by Northern District of California United States District Court 13 attorney Michael D. Welch. On July 31, 2017, counsel moved to withdraw. (Mot., Dkt. No. 54.) 14 Counsel states that, for the past year, Defendants have failed to communicate with counsel despite 15 numerous attempts to contact them via telephone, email, and visits. (Decl. of Michael D. Welch, 16 "Welch Decl.," Dkt. No. 54-1 at 5 ¶ 3.) Counsel served copies of the motion on Defendants via 17 U.S. Mail. (Certificate of Service, Dkt. No. 61.) Defendants did not file an opposition to the 18 motion to withdraw. 19 The Court held a hearing on the motion November 16, 2017. Attorney Michael D. Welch 20 appeared at the hearing. Defendants did not appear. 21 Under Civil Local Rule 11-5(a), "[c]ounsel may not withdraw from an action until relieved 22 by order of Court after written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the client and to all 23 other parties who have appeared in the case." The local rules further provide that if the client does 24 not consent to the withdrawal and no substitution of counsel is filed, the motion to withdraw shall 25 be granted on the condition that all papers from the court and from the opposing party shall 26 continue to be served on that party's current counsel for forwarding purposes until the client 27 appears by other counsel or pro se if the client is not a corporate entity. Civil L.R. 11-5(b). 28 Withdrawal is governed by the California Rules of Professional Conduct. See Nehad v. 1 Mukasey, 535 F.3d 962, 970 (9th Cir. 2008) (applying California Rules of Professional Conduct to 2 attorney withdrawal). Under California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700(C), an attorney may 3 request permission to withdraw if the client breaches an agreement or obligation to its counsel as 4 to expenses or fees, or if the client engages in "other conduct [that] renders it unreasonably 5 difficult for the member to carry out the employment effectively," such as a client's failure to 6 communicate with his attorney. Cal. Rules of Prof'l Conduct R. 3-700(C)(1)(d). 7 The Court has discretion regarding whether to grant a motion to withdraw, and an 8 attorney's request to withdraw should be denied "where such withdrawal would work an injustice 9 or cause undue delay in the proceeding." Gong v. City of Alameda, No. C 03-05495 TEH, 2008 10 WL 160964, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2008) (no prejudice or undue delay to client where counsel 11 provided sufficient notice of its intent to withdraw and where no trial date had yet been set in the 12 case). Here, the Court finds that good cause exists to grant the motion to withdraw. Counsel has Northern District of California United States District Court 13 attested that Defendants have failed to communicate with him despite counsel's efforts to reach 14 them using various forms of communication, and despite having reached a tentative settlement 15 over one year ago. (Welch Decl. ¶¶ 3-4.) This is a valid ground for withdrawal. Furthermore, 16 although Defendants have been served with counsel's motion to withdraw, they did not object to 17 the motion nor did they appear at the hearing to contest the motion to withdrawal. Lastly, there is 18 no showing that withdrawal would work an injustice or cause undue delay, as Defendants' actions 19 are the reason why the case has not been resolved. 20 Accordingly, counsel's motion to withdraw is granted, and attorney Michael D. Welch is 21 relieved as counsel of record. Since Defendants have not consented to the withdrawal and no 22 substitution of counsel has been filed, all papers from the court and from other parties shall 23 continue to be served on defense counsel for forwarding purposes until a substitution of counsel is 24 filed. See Civil L.R. 11-5(b). 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. 26 Dated: November 16, 2017 __________________________________ 27 KANDIS A. WESTMORE 28 United States Magistrate Judge 2