U.S. Legal Support, Inc. v. Hofioni, et al.

Filing 62

ORDER signed by Judge Lawrence K. Karlton on 5/28/14: The court hereby DIRECTS Squire Sanders to file either an opposition or a statement of non-opposition to "Ameen Hofioni's Response to Motion for Leave to withdraw as Counsel of Record" #61 no later than fifteen (15) days after docketing of this Order. The matter will then stand submitted, unless the court determines that further oral argument is necessary. (Kaminski, H)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 U.S. LEGAL SUPPORT, INC., A Texas corporation, No. CIV. S-13-01770 LKK/AC 12 Plaintiff, 13 ORDER v. 14 15 16 17 18 AMEEN HOFIONI, an individual, MORGAN ALBANESE, an individual, THE LIT GROUP, a Nevada corporation, HUTCHINGS COURT REPORTERS, LLC, a California corporation, LITIGATION SERVICES, a Nevada corporation, 19 Defendants. 20 21 22 Plaintiff U.S. Legal Support, Inc. alleges that defendants 23 Ameen Hofioni and Morgan Albanese, its former employees, 24 misappropriated certain trade secrets, confidential information, 25 and personal property, both for their own benefit and for the 26 benefit of their new employer, defendant The LIT Group, and its 27 affiliated entities, defendants Hutchings Court Reporters, LLC 28 1 1 and Litigation Services.1 2 Defendants’ attorneys, from the law firm of Squire Sanders 3 (US) LLP (“Squire Sanders”), now move to withdraw as counsel for 4 defendant Hofioni. (ECF No. 50.) Hofioni opposes this motion. 5 Daniel L. Baxter and George A. Guthrie of the law firm of Wilke 6 Fleury Hoffelt Gould and Birney LLP (“Wilke Fleury”) represent 7 Hofioni solely for the purposes of this motion. 8 9 The motion came on for hearing on April 21, 2014. By Order dated April 22, 2014, the court directed Squire Sanders to 10 provide notice as to whether the firm would consent to turn over 11 to Wilke Fleury copies of any communications with the Non-Hofioni 12 Defendants regarding “(i) the circumstances leading up to Squire 13 Sanders’ decision to withdraw from representing Hofioni, 14 including, but not limited to, settlement discussions with 15 plaintiff, and efforts to obtain Hofioni’s signature on the 16 Common Representation Agreement . . . and (ii) any agreement to 17 pay the costs of Hofioni’s legal representation and/or to 18 indemnify him for damages herein.” (Order, ECF No. 57.) The Order 19 further provided that if Squire Sanders refused to turn over 20 these documents, then the court would disqualify Squire Sanders 21 as counsel for all of the defendants herein. (Id.) 22 On May 7, 2014, Squire Sanders notified the court that it 23 would turn over the documents in question to Wilke Fleury. (ECF 24 No. 59.) On May 9, 2014, Mr. Baxter filed a declaration averring 25 26 27 1 Hereinafter, the term “Entity Defendants” collectively means The LIT Group, Hutchings Court Reporters, LLC, and Litigation Services. The term “Non-Hofioni Defendants” collectively means Morgan Albanese and the Entity Defendants. 28 2 1 that he would “submit an additional statement and/or declaration 2 regarding Squire Sanders’ motion to withdraw” no later than May 3 23, 2014. (ECF No. 60.) 4 The court is now in receipt of Hofioni’s brief, and an 5 accompany declaration by Mr. Baxter, which together argue for 6 Squire Sanders’ disqualification as counsel for all defendants 7 here. (ECF No. 61.) Having reviewed these filings, the court 8 finds that it must hear from Squire Sanders regarding the issues 9 raised. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 One other matter requires attention. Footnote 2 of Hofioni’s brief provides: Given the sensitive nature of this dispute, the undersigned [i.e., Mr. Baxter] will refrain from referencing documentary contents that are not essential to the Court’s review and determination of the matter, and will similarly not attach any of the source documents to this submission. However, the undersigned will bring all relevant documents and communications to any further hearing the Court might hold, and can otherwise make all such documents available for in camera review. 19 20 Local Rule 141 provides procedures for the sealing of documents 21 filed with the court. That the court has called this Rule to the 22 parties’ attention should not be construed as an invitation to 23 make a large-scale filing of confidential documents. That said, 24 if any of the parties believes that review of the whole of a 25 communication, rather than selected excerpts, would assist the 26 court’s decisionmaking, it should avail itself of the procedures 27 set forth in the Local Rule. 28 3 1 In light of the foregoing, the court hereby DIRECTS Squire 2 Sanders to file either an opposition or a statement of non- 3 opposition to “Ameen Hofioni’s Response to Motion for Leave to 4 Withdraw as Counsel of Record” (ECF No. 61) no later than fifteen 5 (15) days after docketing of this Order. Any opposition may be no 6 longer than fifteen (15) pages in length, exclusive of supporting 7 documents. The matter will then stand submitted, unless the court 8 determines that further oral argument is necessary. 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: May 28, 2014. 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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