Brief Fact Summary. Appellant’s attorneys were disqualified by the lower court
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Successive conflicts under Model Rule 1.9 and the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality.
Should attorney Wegmann have been disqualified from this suit due to his prior joint representation of Plaintiffs and Defendants?
Should attorney Sprung have been disqualified from this suit due to his association with Mr. Wegmann?
Held. The lawyer’s ethical duty of confidentiality is stronger and broader than the attorney-client privilege.
Yes, attorney Wegmann was properly disqualified from this suit. As a former attorney for joint clients who are now opposing parties, he will not be able to properly fulfill his ethical obligation of confidentiality.
No, attorney Sprung should not have been disqualified. He was never counsel for Plaintiffs, and it was plain error for the court to disqualify him by imputation, as the appearance of impropriety was not enough here.
A court should be conscious of its responsibility to preserve a reasonable balance between the need to ensure ethical conduct on the part of lawyers appearing before it and other social interests, which include the litigant's right to freely chosen counsel.View Full Point of Law