Bancor Group Inc. v. Rodriguez et al
ORDER OVERRULING 289 Defendants' Objection to Magistrate Judge's Order on Plaintiff's Motion to Disqualify Defendants' Counsel Michael Diaz, Jr. and the Law Firm of Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP and DENYING 324 Plaintiff's Request for Sua Sponte Disqualification of Diez, Reus & Targ, LLP. Signed by Judge Darrin P. Gayles See attached document for full details. (hs01)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO.: 22-cv-20201-GAYLES/TORRES
BANCOR GROUP INC., et al.,
GABINA RODRIGUEZ, et al.,
THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendants’ Objection to Magistrate Judge’s
Order on Plaintiff’s Motion to Disqualify Defendants’ Counsel Michael Diaz, Jr. & the Law Firm
of Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP (“Defendants’ Objection”), [ECF No. 289], and Plaintiffs’ Response
in Opposition to Defendants’ Objection to Magistrate Judge Torres’ Order on Disqualification and
Request for Sua Sponte Disqualification of Diez, Reus & Targ, LLP (“Plaintiffs’ Request”), [ECF
No. 324]. The Court has considered Defendants’ Objections, Plaintiff’s Request, and the record
and is otherwise fully advised.
The action was referred to Chief Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B), for a ruling on all pretrial, non-dispositive matters, and for a Report and
Recommendation on any dispositive matters. [ECF No. 9]. On November 3, 2022, Plaintiffs filed
their Motion to Disqualify Counsel for Defendants (the “Motion to Disqualify”). [ECF No. 146].
On April 13, 2023, Judge Torres issued his Order granting in part the Motion to Disqualify (the
“Order”). [ECF No. 251]. In particular, Judge Torres found that Michael Diaz should be
disqualified from representing Defendants in this action based on his previous relationship with
Plaintiff’s beneficial owner while at his prior law firm, but that his current law firm—Diaz, Reus
& Targ, LLP (“DRT”)—should not be disqualified. Id. Defendants object to the Order, arguing that
(1) Plaintiffs had no standing to move for disqualification; (2) the Order applied the wrong Rule of
Professional Responsibility; and (3) under the proper rule, Mr. Diaz should not be disqualified. [ECF
No. 289]. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue that the Court should sua sponte reconsider Judge
Torres’s denial of the Motion to Disqualify with respect to DRT. [ECF No. 324].
The Motion to Disqualify is a non-dispositive matter. See Kobarid Holdings, S.A. v. Reizen,
No. 03-23269, 2005 WL 8169268, at *1 n.1 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 31, 2005) (“[A] Motion to Disqualify
Counsel is a non-dispositive motion within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)((1)(A).”). Pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), a district court reviews a magistrate judge’s order on a
non-dispositive matter under a “clearly erroneous or  contrary to law” standard. Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(a). “Clear error is a highly deferential standard of review” and a finding of clear error is only
appropriate “if the district court ‘is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed.’” Bradford Emergency Group, LLC. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida,
Inc., No. 21-62139, 2022 WL 4545177, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Sep. 29, 2022) (quoting Holton v. City of
Thomasville School Dist., 425 F.3d 1325, 1351 (11th Cir. 2005)). “A magistrate judge’s order is
contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of
procedure.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). “The standard for overturning a Magistrate Judge’s
Order is a very difficult one to meet” Id. (internal quotation omitted). Moreover, under Southern
District of Florida Local Rule 4(a)(1), a “District Judge may also reconsider sua sponte any matter
determined by a Magistrate Judge under this rule.” S.D. Fla. L.R. 4(a)(1).
The Court has reviewed the Order and finds that it is not clearly erroneous or contrary to
law. Moreover, the Court does not find a basis to sua sponte reconsider Judge Torres’s wellreasoned findings of fact or conclusions of law. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that
Defendants’ Objection to Magistrate Judge’s Order on Plaintiff’s Motion to Disqualify Defendants’ Counsel Michael Diaz, Jr. & the Law Firm of Diaz, [ECF No.
289], is overruled.
Plaintiffs’ Request for Sua Sponte Disqualification of Diez, Reus & Targ, LLP
[ECF No. 324] is denied.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 18th day of May, 2023.
DARRIN P. GAYLES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?