PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES-- INTERVENTION BY ANOTHER ATTORNEY-- For an attorney to dismiss a suit at the behest of a client without either one contacting the attorney who had been employed previously by the client to present it is manifestly improper.
Canons 7, 9.
"X" and "Y," pursuant to employment by "A" obtained a court order restraining the sheriff from selling a place of business under execution. "X" and "Y" made preparations to attend a hearing and to present arguments to secure a temporary injunction. A day or two prior to such hearing, "B," another attorney, at the request of "A" and without the knowledge of "X" and "Y" and without either "A" or "B" having contacted "X" and "Y," dismissed said suit. Was "B" guilty of unethical conduct?Opinion
Under the bare facts presented, all members of the committee are of the opinion that "B" was clearly unethical. Texas Canons of Ethics 7 and 9 are cited to support such view.
Since "X" and "Y" were undoubtedly attorneys of record, "B" would have known they represented "A." If their names did not appear of record, "B" was under duty to ascertain who represented "A" and to have contacted them before dismissing such suit. It is assumed "X" and "Y" were diligent in their duties to "A." It is suggested that since it was not stated "B" has been "employed" by "A," that "B" might have represented the debtor and merely moved for the dismissal of the restraining order, at the request "A," after the judgment had beer satisfied, but that even under such circumstances "B" should have contacted "X" and "Y," ascertained whether their fee had been paid, and have secured their consent to the dismissal.
All of the members of the committee feel very strongly that if "B" accepted employment from "A" to dismiss said suit, and did so without having contacted "X" and "Y" and without their knowledge or consent, that "B" acted highly unethically and should be strongly condemned and that the matter should be referred to the appropriate Grievance Committee for action. (9-0)