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Conflict of interest regarding former attorney

Simi Valley, CA |

I was previously represented by a lawyer from April 2008 until April 2009. This lawyer defended me against my ex wife in a move away order, this case was heard in CA. Unfortunately my ex wife won and was allowed to move out of state with our two children.

I am currently in yet another court battle (same case) with my ex wife and recently found out that my ex attorney is working in the same law firm as my ex wife's attorney. They recently served me with a subpeona to produce documents listing my ex attorney as the person to provide the documents too. I find this to be an extreme conflcit of interest and I would to know other than quoting section 3-310 rules of conduct is there a business and professions code to refer to or any other codes or laws to protect me?

Attorney Answers 2


You should immediately demand in writing that your ex-wife's law firm disqualify itself, and if it refuses to do so you should file a Motion to Disqualify counsel.
You should also consider contacting the California State Bar and filing an ethics complaint.
I hope that you have an attorney working for you on this; you will need one.

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Yes, this appears to be a conflict of interest under California Rules of Professional Conduct 3-310(C).. You need to bring a motion to disqualify counsel.

Under Code of Civil Procedure section 128(5), the Court has the power to control in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers. This permits the Court to issue an order that disqualifies an attorney from representing a party. (Henriksen v. Great Am. Sav. & Loan (1992) 11 Cal. App. 4th 109, 113.)

You need to argue the "substantial relationship" test. This prohibition stems from the attorney’s duty to maintain client confidences. (Morrison Knudsen Corp. v. Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 223, 230.) See:

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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