This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/06/2019 at 21:30:40 (UTC).

RONALD LOWE JR ET AL VS R-3 CONTRACTORS ET AL

Case Summary

On 08/05/2016 RONALD LOWE JR filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against R-3 CONTRACTORS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9672

  • Filing Date:

    08/05/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

LOWE RONALD. JR

Defendants and Respondents

R3 CONTRACTORS INC

R-3 CONTRACTORS

DOES 1-100

SIMS JOSEPH

HOLMES MICHAEL

SAM VENTURES LLC

Guardian Ad Litem

LOWE-KINENY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

MOREY & UPTON LLP

MOREY CHRISTOPHER JOHN

GUNNING J PATRICK KRAVETZ

WILLFORD THOMAS M

Defendant Attorneys

BELOFSKY DAVID ARTHUR

COTTONE EDWIN ROBERT

Other Attorneys

NORTON GEOFFREY PAUL

 

Court Documents

ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES AND DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

2/1/2018: ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES AND DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

Notice of Ruling

12/11/2018: Notice of Ruling

Substitution of Attorney

2/1/2019: Substitution of Attorney

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/17/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/17/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/17/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/17/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Minute Order

1/19/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

3/1/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

3/1/2018: Minute Order

MOTION TO DEPOSIT INTERPLEADED FUNDS AND BE DISCHARGED FROM ACTION

3/1/2018: MOTION TO DEPOSIT INTERPLEADED FUNDS AND BE DISCHARGED FROM ACTION

Minute Order

3/1/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

6/26/2018: Minute Order

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

6/27/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

Ex Parte Application

12/5/2018: Ex Parte Application

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTE

8/5/2016: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTE

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

8/5/2016: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

Minute Order

10/7/2016: Minute Order

39 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 02/01/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Ronald., Jr Lowe (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/01/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Ronald., Jr Lowe (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/22/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 12/11/2018
  • Notice of Ruling (re: Ex Parte Application for Trial Setting Conference and Vacate Current Trial Date); Filed by R-3 Contractors (Defendant); Joseph Sims (Defendant)

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  • 12/05/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4; Ex-Parte Proceedings - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 12/05/2018
  • Minute Order ((Defendants' R-3 Contractors, Inc. and Joseph Sims' Ex-Parte a...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/05/2018
  • Ex Parte Application (for trial setting conference and vacate current trial date); Filed by Geoffrey Paul Norton (Attorney)

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  • 09/27/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by Michael Holmes (Defendant)

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  • 09/27/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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90 More Docket Entries
  • 10/06/2016
  • Ex-Parte Application; Filed by Ronald., Jr Lowe (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/06/2016
  • PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR PETITION FOR ORDER TERMINATING APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM, OR IN TILE ALTERNATIVE, FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR APPLICATION FOR PETITION FOR ORDER TERMINATING APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM; DECLARATION OF

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  • 08/26/2016
  • Ord Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 08/22/2016
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL

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  • 08/22/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 08/12/2016
  • NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 08/05/2016
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 08/05/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Ronald., Jr Lowe (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTE

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC629672    Hearing Date: January 15, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion to Disqualify Counsel

Having considered the moving, opposing, and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On August 5, 2016, Plaintiff Ronald Lowe, Jr. filed a complaint against Defendants R-3 Contractors and R-3 Contractors Inc. alleging motor vehicle negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on July 6, 2016.

On November 9, 2017, Plaintiff Ronald Lowe, Jr. and Cerine R-3 ContractorsR-3 Contractors Inc., Joseph Sims, Sam Ventures, LLC, and Michael Holmes.

On January 26, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Sam Venutres, LLC filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiffs/Cross-Defendants Ronald Lowe, Jr. and Cerine .

On May 9, 2018, the Court found case number BC629672 to be related to case number BC693650.

On June 27, 2018, Plaintiffs/Cross-Defendants Cerine

On November 27, 2019, Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Ronald Lowe, Jr. filed a motion to disqualify his prior counsel from representing Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Cerine Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e).

An Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) is set for January 23, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Ronald Lowe, Jr. disqualify Moving Party’s prior attorneys, Morey & Upton, LLP and Panish, Shea and Boyle LLP, from representing Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Cerine

LEGAL STANDARD

“Code of Civil Procedure section 128, subdivision (a)(5) gives courts the power to order a lawyer's disqualification…[A] trial court's decision concerning a disqualification motion will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion…’ The trial court's exercise of this discretion is limited by the applicable legal principles and is subject to reversal when there is no reasonable basis for the action.’”  (See DCH Health Services Corp. v. Waite )

The duty of loyalty is at stake when an attorney’s representation of one client is adverse Flatt v. Superior Court “Disqualification in cases of successive representation is based on the prohibition against ‘employment adverse to former client where, by reason of the representation of the former client, the [attorney] has obtained confidential information material to the employment.’” (See H.F. Ahmanson & Company v. Salomon Brothers, Inc. (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1445, 1451.)

The scope of the clients’ consent determines whether disqualification is necessary when the prior representation involves joint clients, and the subsequent action relates to the same matter.”  (Zandor Corp. v. Kwan

“[C]lients In order for conflict of interest….’”  (Sharp v. Next Entertainment, Inc.

DISCUSSION

On July 11, 2019, Moving Party guardian ad litem signed a contingent fee retainer agreement and designation of attorney with Morey & Upton, LLP.  (Yoka Exh. 2-3.)  On August 29, 2016, Moving Party signed a contingent fee retainer agreement and designation of attorney with Morey & Upton, LLP.  (Yoka Exh. 4-5.)  On April 21, 2017, Moving Party signed an agreement acknowledging the association of Panish Yoka Exh. 6.)  On May 23, 2017, Opposing Party signed a contingent fee retainer agreement and designation of Morey & Upton, LLP.  (Yoka Decl,. Exh. 7-8.)

On November 15, 2018, Adam Shea of Panish Yoka Exh. 1.)  Counsel from Panish all of Yoka

On January 7, 2019, Panish Willford Yoka Exh. 11.)  Panish Yoka Panish Yoka Yoka

The November 15, 2018 letter states:

As you all know, you have asked Panish nd Morey & Upton, LLP (“the Firms”) to concurrently represent you, Ronald Lowe, Jr. and Cerine Lowe, et al. v. R-3 Contractors, et al.

As we have discussed with you, a lawyer’s concurrent representation of two clients in the same matter raises the possibility for conflicts of interest as defined in Rule 3-310 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, and we are therefore required to provide you with written disclosure of the potential and actual conflicts that might occur in this matter, and

As you know, you retained us to represent you in this legal matter involving personal injuries and other damages as a result of the potential distribution of any settlement proceeds may raise the possibility of conflict.  We should approach this with caution and have a written conflict waiver.

Each of you is free to retain any other counsel of your choosing . . .

At the present timeother than the issues raised regarding the potential disbursement of settlement proceeds, you have not brought to our attention any other factual disagreements between you or other circumstances that you believe might suggest you actually have divergent interests, disagreements, or conflicts among you.  Nevertheless, that risk is always present.  In addition, presently unforeseen conflicts of interest could potentially arise in the future based on further factual investigation or unanticipated developments.

By signing this agreement, each of you agree that we are authorized to share with all of

Additionally, it is likely that defendants will make one lump sum settlement offer (also called an “aggregate settlement offer”) to both plaintiffs, which you then have to If an aggregate settlement offer is made and accepted by both of you, then we will be ethically prohibited from representing any one of you against the other plaintiff to determine how the settlement fund will be divided.  You will be responsible for deciding among yourselves how the settlement funds will be divided between you. funds

Please be advised that by signing below, you acknowledge having been advised of potential conflicts and are consenting to joint representation despite these potential conflicts of interest. 

(Yoka Exh. 1 (emphasis added).)  Moving Ibid.)

The Court finds the November 15, 2018 written disclosure of conflicts of interest Panish nd Morey & Upton, LLP As the court reads the waiver, Ronald Lowe, Jr. and Cerine Panish Panish

The Court disagrees with Opposing Party that the language stating “issues regarding the potential distribution of any settlement proceeds may raise the possibility of conflict” contemplates the conflict at bar.  This language is incredibly broad.  The more specific language emphasized above acts as an exception to the general language that Opposing Party focuses on.  As such, this waiver is read to mean Moving Party consents to Panish ’s ’s representation regarding settlement disbursement, except if there is an aggregate settlement, which is what is present here.  As such, Moving Party did not consent to Panish ’s ’s representation at the current juncture.

Further, the declaration stating Panish cannot find anything other than what was written in the November 15, 2018 disclosure was conveyed to Moving Party.

Opposing Party argues the joint client exception to the attorney-client privilege codified in Evidence Code section 962 shows one party may not claim the attorney-client privilege against the other.  This may be true.  However, this section has no bearing on the propriety of Panish ’s ’s representation of an adverse former client.

Opposing Party lastly argues that the motion is untimely and improper because it is being used as a tactical tool to force an unacceptable settlement.  The evidence proffered in support of this argument is that (1) this motion was filed eleven months after Moving Party terminated his representation with Panish The Court disagrees with Opposing Party.  The mediation took place on July 8, 2019, the instant motion was filed November27, 2019.  This seems to be a reasonable period within which for the settlement with the defendants to become finalized and for the dispute between the plaintiffs to crystalize.  Without further evidence of Moving Party’s alleged tactics in bringing this motion, the Court will not be persuaded by this argument. 

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Panish

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.