Law School Case Brief
Truck Ins. Exch. v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. - 6 Cal. App. 4th 1050, 8 Cal. Rptr. 2d 228 (1992)
In the concurrent representation context, the principle precluding representing an interest adverse to those of a current client is based not on any concern with the confidential relationship between attorney and client but rather on the need to assure the attorney's undivided loyalty and commitment to the client. This distinction between former representation and concurrent representation, and the distinct concerns at issue, are well recognized: In contrast to representation undertaken adverse to a former client, representation adverse to a present client must be measured not so much against the similarities in litigation, as against the duty of undivided loyalty which an attorney owes to each of his clients. If this duty of undivided loyalty is violated, public confidence in the legal profession and the judicial process is undermined.
Respondent insurance company filed a motion to disqualify counsel for conflict of interest under Cal. Rules of Prof. Conduct Rule 3-310, in an underlying insurance coverage dispute. The lower court granted the motion to disqualify, concluding that appellant's counsel engaged in concurrent adverse representation under Cal. Rules of Prof. Conduct Rule 3-310 in representing appellant in the instant case while representing respondent in an unrelated matter. The client filed a writ of supersedeas pending its challenge of the lower court's order, which was granted staying the court's order pending appellate review.
Was it proper to grant the writ of supersedeas?
The court vacated the writ of supersedeas and affirmed the lower court's order. It concluded that per se disqualification was proper because concurrent adverse representation existed, and appellant's counsel was not able to avoid disqualification by withdrawing its representation to avoid a conflict it created and avoid representing the less desirable client.
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