Gibson v. Williams et al
ORDER granting 48 MOTION by the Arkansas Attorney General to Withdraw as counsel of record for Steven Jones; the Attorney General is directed to make certain that deft Jones receives a copy of this Order; Steven Jones shall, within 20 days from the entry of this Order, provide the name and address of his new attorney as directed. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 6/28/11. (vjt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
STEVEN WILLIAMS, et al.
Plaintiff, a state inmate incarcerated at the Delta Regional Unit of the Arkansas
Department of Correction (ADC), filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ADC
officers, alleging excessive force amounting to cruel and unusual punishment. By order entered
February 2, 2011, the Court adopted the findings and recommendation of Magistrate Judge
Jerome T. Kearney and dismissed all claims with the exception of Plaintiff’s excessive force
claim Defendant Stephen Jones in his individual capacity.
Now before the Court is a motion by the Arkansas Attorney General, requesting to
withdraw as counsel for Jones based on a potential conflict of interest. Rule 1.7 of the Arkansas
Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a lawyer shall not represent a client if the
representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest and further provides that a concurrent
conflict of interest can be any case where “there is a significant risk that the representation of
one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a
former client or a third person . . . . ” Ark. R. Prof. Conduct 1.7(a)(2).
In this case, defense
counsel reports that during the discovery process, it became apparent that continued
representation by the Attorney General’s Office could lead to potential and unavoidable conflicts
of interest between present and former clients.
Jones opposes the motion to withdraw and provides the following reasons for his
objection: “1-Being cleared by the internal affairs division. 2-Bypassing a voice [analysis] stress
test.” Docket entry #51, Ex. A.
The decision to allow counsel to withdraw representation based on a conflict of interest is
left to the discretion of the district court. See Fleming v. Harris, 39 F.3d 905, 908 (8th Cir.
1994). The Court finds that the Attorney General has shown good cause for withdrawing
representation in this case and that Jones has adequate time to retain new counsel and prepare for
trial, which is scheduled for January 17, 2011.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motion to withdraw as counsel (docket entry
#48) is GRANTED. The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office is hereby terminated as counsel
for Defendant Steven Jones.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court is directed to mail a copy of this
order to Defendant Steven Jones at his place of employment: The Arkansas Department of
Correction, Pine Bluff Unit, 890 Free Line Drive, Pine Bluff, AR 71603-1498. The Arkansas
Attorney General is directed to make certain that Defendant Jones receives a copy of this order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Steven Jones shall, within twenty (20)
days from the entry date of this order, provide the name and address of his new attorney,
who shall enter an appearance in this case, or state that he intends to proceed without the
assistance of an attorney. Defendant Jones is notified that any party proceeding without an
attorney is obligated to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 28TH
DAY OF JUNE, 2011.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Local Rule 5.5(c)(2) states:
It is the duty of any party not represented by counsel to promptly notify the Clerk
and the other parties to the proceedings of any change in his or her address, to
monitor the progress of the case, and to prosecute or defend the action diligently. A
party appearing for himself/herself shall sign his/her pleadings and state his/her
address, zip code, and telephone number. If any communication from the Court to
a pro se plaintiff is not responded to within thirty (30) days, the case may be
dismissed without prejudice. Any party proceeding pro se shall be expected to be
familiar with and follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
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