Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

The Court considered the moving papers. No opposition was filed.

BACKGROUND

On September 26, 2017, Plaintiff Jose Molina (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Michael Nerone (“Defendant”) for motor vehicle and general negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on October 20, 2015.¿

On April 2, 2019, Plaintiff’s counsel, Hussein H. Saleh, filed a motion to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff due to a complete breakdown in the client-attorney relationship.

On May 1, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Plaintiff’s counsel’s April 2, 2019 motion to be relieved as counsel to May 7, 2019 for Plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to serve the motion and supporting documents to Defendant.

Trial is set for July 29, 2019.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Plaintiff’s counsel of record, Hussein H. Saleh, seeks to be relieved as counsel pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362.¿

LEGAL STANDARD

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted¿when¿there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915; People v. Prince (1968) 268 Cal.App.2d 398.)

California Rules of Court,¿rule 3.1362 (Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel) requires (1) notice of motion and motion to be directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel—Civil¿form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion and declaration on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) the proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that¿there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.)

DISCUSSION

As mentioned in the Court’s May 1, 2019 minute order, Plaintiff’s counsel completed two sets of forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053. These documents are identical with the exception that form MC-051 filed at 1:07 p.m. on April 2, 2019 includes a date of when Plaintiff’s counsel signed the second page. As such, the Court considers this MC-051 form.

Also mentioned in the Court’s May 1, 2019 minute order, Counsel briefly states in the declaration that the “[t]here has been a complete breakdown in the Attorney-Client relationship.” The Court finds this statement provides good cause for the motion to be granted.

The Court finds that Plaintiff’s counsel has served Defendant with the motion to be relieved as counsel and supporting documents, as indicated by the proof of service filed with the Court on April 30, 2019.

Because the trial is almost three months away, the Court finds that Plaintiff will have sufficient time to retain substitute counsel, to prepare for trial, and, if appropriate, to seek a continuance of the trial date.

Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED.

Plaintiff’s counsel is ordered to give notice of this ruling.