Robert E. Renzel Trust et al v. Ventura et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-01648

ORDER by Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. GRANTING {{146}} MOTION TO WITHRAW AS COUNSEL.(Denying as moot {{135}} Motion to Substitute Attorney.)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 ROBERT E. RENZEL TRUST, et al., 7 Case No. 15-cv-01648-HSG Plaintiffs, 8 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO v. WITHRAW AS COUNSEL 9 ALFREDO TORRES, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 146 10 Defendants. 11 12 Defendant Gary Tran has been represented in this litigation by Jonathan Do, Esq., of Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Fusion Law, APC. On October 27, 2016, Mr. Do filed a notice of substitution of attorney, Dkt. 14 No. 135, which made clear that he sought to no longer represent his client, Defendant Gary Tran. 15 Pursuant to the Court's order, Dkt. No. 145, Mr. Do filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Mr. 16 Tran, Dkt. No. 146. On December 1, 2016, the Court held an in camera hearing on the motion. 17 Based on the applicable legal authority and the representations made at the hearing, the Court 18 GRANTS the motion as ordered during the in camera hearing. 19 I. LEGAL STANDARD 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." Withdrawal is governed by the California Rules of 23 Professional Conduct. See j2 Glob. Commc'ns, Inc. v. Blue Jay, Inc., No. C 08-4254PJH, 2009 24 WL 464768, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2009)). Under these rules, an attorney may only request 25 permission to withdraw on a limited number of grounds, of which two are relevant here. See CA 26 ST RPC Rule 3-700(C). First, a request for withdrawal is permitted where "[t]he client knowingly 27 and freely assents to termination of employment." Id., Rule 3-700(C)(5). In addition, a request 28 for withdrawal is permitted where the attorney "believes in good faith. . . that the tribunal will 1 find the existence of other good cause for withdrawal." Id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). The decision to 2 grant or deny a motion to withdraw is within the Court's discretion. Gong v. City of Alameda, No. 3 C 03–05495 TEH, 2008 WL 160964, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2008). 4 II. ANALYSIS 5 Here, Mr. Do has complied with Local Civil Rule 11-5(a). The filing of his motion to 6 withdraw provided sufficient notice to the other parties in the case. See Dkt. No. 146. The filing 7 includes a "Notice to Client Who Will Be Unrepresented," which is signed by both Mr. Do and 8 Mr. Tran, and clearly communicates that granting the motion will permit Mr. Do to withdraw and 9 result in Mr. Tran proceeding pro se. See id. at 3. 10 Moreover, the Court finds that the filing of this motion was permitted by the California 11 Rules of Professional Conduct. First, the motion and accompanying declaration, see id. at 1 and 4, 12 as well as the statements of Mr. Tran and Mr. Do at the in camera hearing, establish that Mr. Tran Northern District of California United States District Court 13 has "knowingly and freely assent[ed]" to Mr. Do's termination of employment. See CA RPC Rule 14 3-700(C)(5). In addition, based upon the representations made in the in camera proceeding, the 15 Court finds that Mr. Do filed the motion with a good faith belief that there is good cause for 16 withdrawal. See id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). 17 Accordingly, the Court finds in its discretion that Mr. Do's withdrawal as counsel is 18 warranted. See Gong, 2008 WL 160964, at *1. 19 III. CONCLUSION 20 For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw as counsel, Dkt. 21 No. 146, and DENIES AS MOOT the motion to substitute. The Court ORDERS Mr. Do to 22 comply with all legal and professional obligations relating to the termination of his employment, 23 including Rule 3-700(D) of the California Rules of Professional Conduct. 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. 25 Dated: 12/1/2016 26 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. 27 United States District Judge 28 2