Estate of Robert Renzel, Deceased et al v. Ventura et al

Filing 172

ORDER by Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. Granting 164 MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL FOR HYANG BAE WHANG, SEON GEUN WHANG, AND KYU CHUK WHANG. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(ndrS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/23/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ROBERT E. RENZEL TRUST, et al., 8 Plaintiffs, v. 9 10 ALFREDO TORRES, et al., Defendants. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 15-cv-01648-HSG ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL FOR HYANG BAE WHANG, SEON GEUN WHANG, AND KYU CHUK WHANG Re: Dkt. No. 164 Hyang Bae Whang, Seon Geun Whang, and Kyu Chuk Whang (“Whangs”) have been 12 13 represented in this action by Kathleen N. Strickland (“Attorney Strickland”), Stephan Choo 14 (“Attorney Choo”), Devin C. Courteau (“Attorney Courteau”), and the law firm Ropers, Majeski, 15 Kohn, & Bentley, PC (“Ropers Firm”). Dkt. Nos. 34, 164. On April 21, 2017, Attorney 16 Strickland, Attorney Choo, and the Ropers Firm filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for the 17 Whangs. Dkt. No. 164. The motion is unopposed. At the in camera hearing held on June 22, 18 2017, Seon Geun Whang appeared on behalf of the Whangs and Attorney Choo appeared for 19 Attorney Strickland and the Ropers Firm. Attorney Choo informed the Court that Attorney 20 Courteau left the Ropers Firm and so no longer represents the Whangs. Seon Geun Whang 21 confirmed that the Whangs consented to withdrawal and understood the challenges and 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 responsibilities of proceeding without counsel. Based on the relevant legal authority, the papers, and the representations made at the hearing, the Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw. I. LEGAL STANDARD Under Civil Local Rule 11-5(a), “[c]ounsel may not withdraw from an action until relieved by order of Court after written notice has been given reasonably in advance to the client and to all other parties who have appeared in the case.” Withdrawal is governed by the California Rules of Professional Conduct. j2 Glob. Commc’ns, Inc. v. Blue Jay, Inc., No. C 08-4254 PJH, 2009 WL 1 464768, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2009)). Under Rule 3-700(C), an attorney may only request 2 permission to withdraw on certain grounds, of which two are relevant here. See CA ST RPC Rule 3 3-700(C). First, a request for withdrawal is permitted where “[t]he client knowingly and freely 4 assents to termination of employment.” Id., Rule 3-700(C)(5). In addition, a request for 5 withdrawal is permitted where the attorney “believes in good faith . . . that the tribunal will find 6 the existence of other good cause for withdrawal.” Id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). The decision to grant or 7 deny a motion to withdraw is within the Court’s discretion. Gong v. City of Alameda, No. C 03- 8 05495 TEH, 2008 WL 160964, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2008). 9 II. DISCUSSION Local Civil Rule 11-5(a) is satisfied because the filing of the motion over two months ago 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 gave all parties reasonable advance notice of withdrawal. See Dkt. No. 164. The Whangs appear 12 to have had even more advance notice, given that the mutual agreement to terminate the 13 representation was discussed by Attorney Choo and Seon Geun Whang at least as early as January 14 18, 2017. See id. at 6. The filing of the motion was also permitted by the California Rules of 15 Professional Conduct. Attorney Choo’s declaration and Seon Geun Whang’s statements at the 16 hearing established that the Whangs “knowingly and freely assent[ed] to termination of 17 employment.” See id.; CA ST RPC 3-700(C). Moreover, Attorney Choo’s representations at the 18 hearing demonstrated that the motion was filed with a good faith belief in the existence of good 19 cause for withdrawal. See id., Rule 3-700(C)(6). After careful consideration, the Court finds in its 20 discretion that withdrawal is warranted. See Gong, 2008 WL 160964, at *1. 21 III. CONCLUSION 22 The Court GRANTS the motion to withdraw. Attorney Choo, Attorney Stickland, and the 23 Ropers Firm must comply with all legal and professional obligations relating to the termination of 24 employment, including California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700(D). 25 26 27 28 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 6/23/2017 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge 2

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