This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/24/2020 at 00:58:15 (UTC).

JAMES WHELAN VS PRINGREE F TIMOTHY, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 04/25/2019 JAMES WHELAN filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against PRINGREE F TIMOTHY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******4072

  • Filing Date:

    04/25/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WHELAN JAMES

Defendants

TIMOTHY PRINGREE F

LOST & FOUND INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

PINGREE TIMONTHY F. AKA TIMOTHY F. PINGREE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

WEISS RICHARD

Defendant Attorney

KOERNER KELLY A

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

10/8/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 10/08/2020

10/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 10/08/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Disqualify Counsel)

11/14/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Disqualify Counsel)

Motion to Disqualify Counsel - Motion to Disqualify Counsel

7/25/2019: Motion to Disqualify Counsel - Motion to Disqualify Counsel

Answer - Answer

6/10/2019: Answer - Answer

Answer - Answer to Complaint by Lost & Found, Inc.

6/12/2019: Answer - Answer to Complaint by Lost & Found, Inc.

Answer - Answer

6/17/2019: Answer - Answer

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/25/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/25/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

5/7/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/25/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

4/25/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

4/25/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Complaint - Complaint

4/25/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/25/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

4/25/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

4 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/28/2022
  • Hearing04/28/2022 at 10:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/14/2021
  • Hearing04/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Richard Weiss (Attorney): First Name changed from Richard to Richard

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketAddress for Richard Weiss (Attorney) null

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Lost & Found, Inc., a California Corporation (Defendant): First Name: blank; Last Name: blank; Organization Name: Lost & Found, Inc., a California Corporation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 10/08/2020; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/08/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion was rescheduled to 04/14/2021 08:30 AM

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/14/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Disqualify Counsel: Filed By: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; Result Date: 11/14/2019

    Read MoreRead Less
11 More Docket Entries
  • 05/07/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); As to: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); Proof of Mailing Date: 04/29/2019; Service Cost: 55.00; Service Cost Waived: No

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/26/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/26/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 04/28/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/26/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); As to: PRINGREE F TIMOTHY (Defendant); a California Corporation LOST & FOUND, INC. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); As to: PRINGREE F TIMOTHY (Defendant); a California Corporation LOST & FOUND, INC. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); As to: PRINGREE F TIMOTHY (Defendant); a California Corporation LOST & FOUND, INC. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: JAMES WHELAN (Plaintiff); As to: PRINGREE F TIMOTHY (Defendant); a California Corporation LOST & FOUND, INC. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC04072    Hearing Date: November 14, 2019    Dept: 94

MOTION TO DISQUALIFY

(Cal. Rules of Prof. Conduct Rule 3-310(C)(1))

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff James Whelan’s Motion for Order Disqualifying Kelly Koerner, Esq. as Counsel for Defendants Lost & Found, Inc. and Timothy Pingree is GRANTED.

SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT: Action for breach of oral loan agreement, common counts.

RELIEF REQUESTED: Plaintiff moves to disqualify defense counsel, Kelly Koerner, on the grounds that she previously represented him in the same subject matter as this lawsuit. Specifically, in Plaintiff’s attempt to recover funds from Lost & Found, Inc. and its principal, Timothy F. Pingree. An impermissible conflict exists with respect to Koerner’s representation of Defendants.

OPPOSITION: None filed as of November 8, 2019.

ANALYSIS:

On April 25, 2019, Plaintiff James Whelan (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for breach of oral contract and common counts against Defendants Lost & Found, Inc. and its principal, Timothy F. Pingree. (“Defendants”). Defendants are represented by Kelly Koerner, Esq. (“Koerner” or “defense counsel”). Plaintiff filed the instant motion to disqualify Koerner as Defendants’ attorney on July 25, 2019. To date, no opposition has been filed.

Legal Standard

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128, subdivision (a)(5), one of the court’s powers is to control the conduct of its ministerial officers and of all other persons in any manner connected with a judicial proceeding before it in furtherance of justice. That power includes disqualifying an attorney.

“The issue of disqualification ‘ultimately involves a conflict between the clients’ right to counsel of their choice and the need to maintain ethical standards of professional responsibility. The paramount concern, though, must be the preservation of public trust in the scrupulous administration of justice and the integrity of the bar. The recognized and important right to counsel of one's choosing must yield to considerations of ethics that run to the very integrity of our judicial process.’ [Citations.]” (Metro-Goldwyn Mayer v. Tracinda Corp. (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1832, 1838.)

Whether an attorney should be disqualified is a matter addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. (Henriksen v. Great American Savings & Loan (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 109, 113.) Different standards have evolved for conflicts arising out of the simultaneous representation of clients with potentially adverse interests versus the successive representation of clients with adverse interests.

Where the potential conflict is one that arises from the successive representation of clients with potentially adverse interests, the courts have recognized that the chief fiduciary value jeopardized is that of client confidentiality. Thus, where a former client seeks to have a previous attorney disqualified from serving as counsel to a successive client in litigation adverse to the interests of the first client, the governing test requires that the client demonstrate a “substantial relationship” between the subjects of the antecedent and current representations.

(Flatt v. Superior Court (1994) 9 Cal.4th 275, 283; see Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, supra, at 1839.)

The “substantial relationship” test mediates between two interests that are in tension in such a context—the freedom of the subsequent client to counsel of choice, on the one hand, and the interest of the former client in ensuring the permanent confidentiality of matters disclosed to the attorney in the course of the prior representation, on the other. Where the requisite substantial relationship between the subjects of the prior and the current representations can be demonstrated, access to confidential information by the attorney in the course of the first representation (relevant, by definition, to the second representation) is presumed and disqualification of the attorney's representation of the second client is mandatory; indeed, the disqualification extends vicariously to the entire firm.

(Flatt v. Superior Court, supra, 9 Cal.4th at pp. 283-284.)

Discussion

This action pertains to monies Plaintiff allegedly loaned to Defendants in the amount of $24,000.00, and which they have failed to repay as agreed. (Compl., ¶¶6-9.) Plaintiff contends that defense counsel should be disqualified from representing Defendants in this action because she previously represented him on the same matter. Specifically, in January 2019, Whelan contacted Kroener to negotiate a resolution of the dispute with Defendants regarding repayment. (Motion, Whelan Decl., ¶¶2-3.) Kroener agreed to represent Plaintiff in the negotiations and he provided confidential information to her as a result. (Id. at ¶¶4-5.) This confidential information included how he came to loan Defendants money and the terms and conditions upon which Plaintiff was willing to settle. (Ibid.) On March 12, 2016, Kroener emailed Plaintiff regarding a potential resolution to the dispute and that she was attempting to get Defendants’ agreement. (Id. at ¶6 and Exhs. A-C.)

Upon the filing of this action by Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s counsel Richard Weiss, Esq. pointed out the conflict of interest in Kroener’s representation and asked that she recuse herself. (Motion, Weiss Decl., ¶1 and Exh. A.) Although Kroener disavowed having any confidential information, she agreed to recuse herself to avoid exacerbating the issue. (Ibid.) Despite this representation, Kroener filed an Answer on behalf of Defendant Pingree and an Answer and Amended Answer on behalf of Lost & Found, Inc.

Despite any contention by Kroener that she did not obtain confidential information, she has not bothered to file an opposition to this motion. Nor is there anything to overcome the presumption that such confidential information was obtained in Kroener’s earlier representation of Plaintiff given the complete overlap of issues.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion to disqualify is GRANTED.