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 {{152}} Motion to Withdraw as 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. WITHDRAW 9 ALFREDO TORRES, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 152 10 Defendants. 11 12 Thu Nguyen ("Client Nguyen") and Ngoc T.B. Tran ("Client Tran") are defendants, Northern District of California United States District Court 13 counterclaimants, cross-complainants, and cross-defendants in this action. Dkt. No. 152. They 14 have been represented by attorneys Ann A. Nguyen ("Attorney Nguyen") and Joshua J. Borgor 15 ("Attorney Borgor") of the law firm Robinson & Wood, Inc. ("Firm"). Id. On December 6, 2016, 16 Attorney Borgor gave written notice to all parties, including Clients Nguyen and Tran, of the 17 Firm's intention to withdraw as counsel. Id. at 3. On December 7, 2016, the Firm filed the 18 motion to withdraw, including Attorney Borgor's declaration. Id. Attorney Borgor subsequently 19 ceased working for the Firm. See Dkt. No. 158 at 1. On February 16, 2017, the Court held a 20 hearing on the motion. Clients Nguyen and Tran failed to appear as ordered by the Court, see Dkt. 21 Nos. 153, 159, but Attorney Nguyen appeared by phone. Attorney Nguyen has represented to the 22 Court both in writing, see Dkt. No. 158, and during the hearing, that Clients Nguyen and Tran do 23 not oppose the motion to withdraw. Based upon the applicable legal authority, Attorney Borgor's 24 declaration, and Attorney Nguyen's statements during the hearing, the Court GRANTS the 25 motion to withdraw. 26 I. LEGAL STANDARD 27 Under Civil Local Rule 11-5(a), "[c]ounsel may not withdraw from an action until relieved 28 by order of Court after written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the client and to all 1 other parties who have appeared in the case." Withdrawal is governed by the California Rules of 2 Professional Conduct. See j2 Glob. Commc'ns, Inc. v. Blue Jay, Inc., No. C 08-4254PJH, 2009 3 WL 464768, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2009)). Under these rules, an attorney may only request 4 permission to withdraw on a limited number of grounds, of which two are relevant here. See CA 5 ST RPC Rule 3-700(C). First, a request for withdrawal is permitted where "[t]he client knowingly 6 and freely assents to termination of employment." Id., Rule 3-700(C)(5). In addition, a request 7 for withdrawal is permitted where the attorney "believes in good faith. . . that the tribunal will 8 find the existence of other good cause for withdrawal." Id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). The decision to 9 grant or deny a motion to withdraw is within the Court's discretion. Gong v. City of Alameda, No. 10 C 03–05495 TEH, 2008 WL 160964, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2008). 11 II. DISCUSSION 12 Local Civil Rule 11-5(a) was satisfied because all parties, including Clients Nguyen and Northern District of California United States District Court 13 Tran, received reasonable advance notice of the Firm's intention to withdraw. See Dkt. No. 152. 14 The filing of the motion was also permitted by the California Rules of Professional Conduct. 15 Attorney Nguyen's statements in writing, see Dkt. No. 157, and during the hearing, establish that 16 Clients Nguyen and Tran have "knowingly and freely assent[ed]" to the termination of 17 employment. See CA RPC Rule 3-700(C)(5). Moreover, Attorney Nguyen's representations 18 during the proceeding demonstrated that the motion was filed with a good faith belief in the 19 existence of good cause for withdrawal. See id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). Accordingly, the Court finds 20 in its discretion that the Firm's withdrawal is warranted. See Gong, 2008 WL 160964, at *1. 21 III. CONCLUSION 22 The Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw. The Court ORDERS Attorney Nguyen to 23 comply with all legal and professional obligations relating to the termination of the Firm's 24 employment, including California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700(D). 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. 26 Dated: 2/17/2017 27 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. 28 United States District Judge 2