Rajaee v. Kresses and Piasecki Legal, PC et al

Filing 10

ORDER Granting 4 Motion to Withdraw as Counsel for Plaintiff. BNSK shall serve a copy of this order on Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee and Defendants and shall file the proof of service. On or before December 5, 2022, Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee shall fil e a notice with this Court listing the mailing address for service of process. Plaintiffs opposition to Defendants motion to dismiss is now due on or before January 9, 2023 and Defendants reply is due on or before January 17, 2023. Signed by Judge Thomas J. Whelan on 11/21/22. (dlg)

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Case 3:22-cv-00895-W-MDD Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 PageID.193 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ASHKAN RAJAEE, Case No.: 22-CV-0895 W (MDD) Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 KRESSES AND PIASECKI LEGAL, PC, et al. 15 ORDER GRANTING ATTORNEY’S MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF [DOC. 4] Defendants. 16 17 Pending before the Court is Brown Neri Smith & Khan’s motion to withdraw as 18 19 attorney of record for Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee. Plaintiff opposes the motion. The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument. 20 21 See Civ.L.R. 7.1.d.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the motion 22 [Doc. 4]. 23 24 25 I. DISCUSSION On June 20, 2022, Brown Neri Smith & Khan (“BNSK”) filed this lawsuit on 26 behalf of Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee. The Complaint asserts one cause of action for 27 professional negligence against Plaintiff’s former attorneys. (Compl. [Doc. 1] ¶¶ 9–12.) 28 1 22-CV-0895 W (MDD) Case 3:22-cv-00895-W-MDD Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 PageID.194 Page 2 of 4 1 Since the Complaint was filed, little activity has taken place in this case. The only 2 activity reflected on the docket is BNSK’s motion to withdraw filed on October 10, 2022 3 (Notice of Motion to Withdraw [Doc. 4]) and Defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of 4 subject matter or personal jurisdiction filed on November 14, 2022 (Defs’ MTD [Doc. 8]). 5 An attorney may not withdraw as counsel except by leave of court. Darby v. City 6 of Torrance, 810 F.Supp. 275, 276 (C.D.Cal.1992); Civ.L.R. 83.3.f.3. “The grant or 7 denial of an attorney’s motion to withdraw in a civil case is a matter addressed to the 8 discretion of the trial court....” Washington v. Sherwin Real Estate, Inc., 694 F.2d 1081, 9 1087 (7th Cir. 1982). Factors considered in evaluating the motion are “1) the reasons 10 why withdrawal is sought; 2) the prejudice withdrawal may cause to other litigants; 3) the 11 harm withdrawal might cause to the administration of justice; and 4) the degree to which 12 withdrawal will delay the resolution of the case.” CE Resource, Inc. v. Magellan Group, 13 LLC, 2009 WL 3367489, at *2 (E.D.Cal. 2009) (citing Canandaigua Wine Co., Inc. v. 14 Moldauer, 2009 WL 89141, at *1 (E.D.Cal. 2009)). 15 Withdrawal of counsel is governed by the standards of professional conduct 16 required of members of the State Bar of California. See Nehad v. Mukasey, 535 F.3d 17 962, 970 (9th Cir. 2008) (applying California Rules of Professional Conduct to attorney 18 withdrawal). Here, BNSK seeks to withdraw under Rule 1.16(b)(4), which provides that 19 an attorney may withdraw if “the client by other conduct renders it unreasonably difficult 20 for the lawyer to carry out the representation effectively.” (P&A [Doc. 4-1] 3–6.) Citing 21 this rule, BNSK argues the attorney-client relationship with Plaintiff “is irreconcilably 22 broken at this point, and BNSK cannot adequately or sufficiently represent” him. (P&A 23 [Doc. 4-1] 1:3–6; Reply [Doc. 7] 2:16–19.) In his opposition, Plaintiff disputes that there 24 has been a breakdown of the relationship (Opp’n [Doc.6] 8:12–13), but then proceeds to 25 establish that the relationship is irreparably broken. 26 In his opposition, Plaintiff contends that in addition to this case, BNSK represents 27 him in a number of related complex lawsuits involving “immigration laws and 28 international laws with thousands of documents being produced in the related matters.” 2 22-CV-0895 W (MDD) Case 3:22-cv-00895-W-MDD Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 PageID.195 Page 3 of 4 1 (Opp’n 2:12–22.) It is the related cases that appear to have led to the deterioration of the 2 attorney-client relationship. While BNSK is representing Plaintiff in this case on a 3 contingency basis (id. 9:9–11), Plaintiff alleges the firm holds an “$1,000,000 secured 4 promissory note and registered lien agreement toward their fees” in the other cases. (Id. 5 2:8–9.) Plaintiff alleges that BNSK willfully misled him into providing the security and 6 “dishonestly promised, signed and secured” the line of credit. (Id. 11:9–18.) Plaintiff 7 further alleges that in September of 2022, after the “credit facility reached over $500,000 8 of the $1,000,000,” he became “concerned about the volume of billings and started 9 asking the firm for an attorney-by-attorney breakdown of my invoices.” (Id. 5:17–23.) 10 At the same time, Plaintiff alleges he began “digging into BNSK work product and 11 discovered some glaring issues in their handling of the cases.” (Id. 5:26–6:1.) In 12 particular, he contends he discovered that the “firm was missing critical documents or did 13 not review critical orders from the arbitration proceedings that resulted in great harm to 14 my case.” (Id. 5:26–6:4.) 15 Plaintiff asserts that after raising additional questions with the firm, they advised 16 him that they were “adverse” and “the firm is going to withdraw from all my cases….” 17 (Opp’n 6:11–16.) Thereafter, the firm filed motions to withdraw in the related cases, at 18 least one of which has been granted. (Reply [Doc. 7] 2:2–3.) Plaintiff further alleges that 19 the firm’s “conduct has created a near impossible scenario that only benefits and profits 20 BNSK to the tune of $1,000,000 while completely causing additional hardship and case 21 prejudice for my family.” (Opp’n. 8:5–9.) Plaintiff asserts that “BNSK’s conduct goes 22 against my understanding of public policy rules established by the State Bar of 23 California” (id. 2:6–8) and he contends he has filed a complaint against BNSK with the 24 State Bar (id. 4:6–8). 25 Plaintiff’s opposition to BNSK’s motion to dismiss establishes that there has been 26 a complete breakdown of the attorney-client relationship in the related cases and, 27 accordingly, in this case as well. Additionally, given the early posture of this case, there 28 is nothing in the record suggesting that BNSK’s withdrawal will prejudice the litigants in 3 22-CV-0895 W (MDD) Case 3:22-cv-00895-W-MDD Document 10 Filed 11/21/22 PageID.196 Page 4 of 4 1 this matter, will harm the administration of justice or unduly delay the resolution of this 2 case. For these reasons, the Court will grant BNSK’s motion. 3 4 5 II. CONCLUSION & ORDER For all the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS BNSK’s motion to 6 withdraw as attorney of record for Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee [Doc. 4] and ORDERS as 7 follows: 8 • 9 10 Defendants and shall file the proof of service. • 11 12 BNSK shall serve a copy of this order on Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee and On or before December 5, 2022, Plaintiff Ashkan Rajaee shall file a notice with this Court listing the mailing address for service of process. • In light of this order, the Court CONTINUES Defendants’ motion to 13 dismiss [Doc. 8] to January 23, 2023 to allow Plaintiff an opportunity to 14 find new counsel. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendants’ motion 15 to dismiss is now due on or before January 9, 2023 and Defendants’ reply is 16 due on or before January 17, 2023. Upon submission of the briefing, there 17 shall be no oral argument on Defendants’ motion to dismiss. See Civ.L.R. 18 7.1d1. 19 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 21, 2022 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 22-CV-0895 W (MDD)

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