Digby Adler Group LLC v. Image Rent A Car, Inc. et al

Filing 107

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti conditionally granting 101 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Richard P. Duane and Levi Huebner terminated (sclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/28/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DIGBY ADLER GROUP LLC, ) Case No. 10-cv-00617-SC ) Plaintiff, ) ORDER ON MOTION TO WITHDRAW ) v. ) ) ) IMAGE RENT A CAR, INC., et al., ) ) Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 17 18 19 20 Now before the Court is Levi Huebner & Associates PC ("LH") 21 and Duane & Seltzer LLP's ("D&S") motion to withdraw as counsel for 22 Defendants Image Rent A Car, Inc. ("Image") and Van Rental Co., 23 Inc. ("Van"). 24 Bandago ("Bandago") does not oppose the motion. 25 ECF No. 101. Plaintiff Digby Adler Group d/b/a ECF No. 102. Civil Local Rule 11-5(a) prohibits counsel from withdrawing 26 from an action until (1) the Court has issued an order permitting 27 the withdrawal, and (2) written notice has been given reasonably in 28 advance to the client and to all other parties. Rule 11-5(b) 1 applies where, as here, withdrawal is not accompanied by 2 simultaneous appearance of substitute counsel or agreement of the 3 party to appear pro se. 4 withdrawal subject to the condition that papers may continue to be 5 served on withdrawing counsel until the client appears by other 6 counsel. 7 That Rule authorizes the Court to permit In this District, standards of professional conduct for United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 attorneys are governed by the rules established by the State Bar of 9 California. Civ. L.R. 11-4(a)(1); see also Cal. Native Plant Soc'y 10 v. EPA, C 06-3604 PJH, 2008 WL 4911162, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 14, 11 2008) ("In this district, the conduct of counsel, including 12 withdrawal of counsel, is governed by the standards of professional 13 conduct required of members of the State Bar of California."). 14 California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700(C) permits an 15 attorney to request permission to withdraw if the client renders 16 the representation unreasonably difficult, continued representation 17 is likely to result in a violation of the rules, or the attorney 18 believes that the court will find other good cause. 19 LH represents Image and Van; D&S has never met the principal 20 for Image or Van and only appeared in this action as sponsor and 21 local co-counsel for LH. 22 Huebner asserts that he has had communication difficulties with his 23 clients since 2011. 24 developed between one of the principals of Van or Image and other 25 parties to the case, and that he consulted with the principal 26 regarding this action. 27 are diverse and I can no longer communicate with them let alone 28 represent their interests in this action." ECF No. 101-1 ("Huebner Decl."). Mr. He also claims that a conflict of interest has Mr. Huebner claims that "their interests 2 Id. at 1. Finally, Mr. 1 Huebner states that his small firm cannot afford to represent Van 2 and Image. Id. a copy of their motion upon all defendants in this action. 5 101-3 ("Service Aff.") at 1-2. 6 letter from Defendant Shneior Zilberman, a principal of Image and 7 Van. 8 United States District Court Mr. Huebner and D&S moved to withdraw on July 1. 4 For the Northern District of California 3 of looking for new counsel to replace Levi Huebner." 9 ("Zilberman Letter"). 10 11 They served ECF No. On July 9, the Court received a Mr. Zilberman informed the Court that "we're in the process ECF No. 103 Mr. Zilberman requested 45 days to hire new counsel and respond to the amended complaint. The Court finds that there is good cause to grant LH and D&S's 12 motion to withdraw, and that the reason for withdrawal is 13 consistent with the California Rules of Professional Conduct. 14 Additionally, Image and Van are clearly aware of their attorney's 15 intentions and are already in the process of hiring new counsel. 16 Because Image and Van are business entities, however, they must be 17 represented by a licensed attorney. 18 v. Cal. Men's Colony, Unit II Men's Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 19 201-02 (1993). 20 behalf, and they cannot appear pro se. 21 See Civ. L.R. 3-9(b); Rowland No substitution of counsel has been filed on their Therefore, in accordance with Civil Local Rule 11-5(b), the 22 Court GRANTS LH and D&S's motion to withdraw on the condition that 23 papers may continue to be served on Levi Huebner & Associates PC 24 for forwarding purposes until Image and Van appear by other 25 counsel. 26 defendants. 27 to find substitute counsel and shall file substitution of counsel 28 and respond to Bandago's First Amended Complaint no later than LH shall also serve a copy of this order on all Van and Image have 30 days from the date of this order 3 1 August 27, 2014 (which gives them more than the 45 days they 2 requested). 3 counsel and responded to Bandago's First Amended Complaint by that 4 date, Bandago may move for entry of default by September 10, 2014. If Image and Van have not filed substitution of 5 6 IT IS SO ORDERED. 7 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 Dated: July 28, 2014 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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