Conflict of interest in landlord tenant dispute?
(Los Angeles, California)
In tenant landlord dispute there's an issue of conflict of interest with the attorney. The landlord wants to evict me so the owner's family can move in. Originally my nephew owned the property and I did most on-site labor, maintenance, repairs, etc.
While my nephew owned the property and I maintained the property we hired an attorney for certain issues. The current owner has now hired the same attorney my nephew used when he owned the property.
Is that a conflict of interest? Can the attorney who represented my nephew for the same property, who knows private information pertaining to myself, the property, and my nephew, legally represent the current property owner for legal proceedings against myself (my nephew, who previously hired this same attorney, is my biggest best witness and has proof to fight the action against me).
Is it legal for the attorney to represent the new owners in this circumstance? If there is a conflict of interest with the attorney, do I have to respond to his demands? What actions can I take to have the attorney, and any actions the attorney has made, dismissed and voided? Thanks for any direction you can give.
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ANSWER for "Conflict of interest in landlord tenant dispute?":
Anonymous (Los Angeles, California):
It is our policy at InjuryClaimCoach.com not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. If you are presently represented by another attorney, your interest would be best served by heeding the attorney's advice and counsel.
In the event you are not currently represented by counsel, from the facts you present you may have a valid point about the attorney's apparent conflict of interest. However, for there to exist a conflict of interest would require the attorney to be currently representing the landlord in an action against you or your nephew.
If that is the case, you are correct in stating the landlord's possession of sensitive information about you and your nephew would likely constitute a conflict of interest.
Regardless of the apparent conflict of interest, you should timely respond to the attorney's letters, lawsuit, and other related actions. By not doing so you are setting yourself up for an eviction, and the related costs of that eviction.
While you may file a complaint against the attorney at a later time, the attorney's apparent conflict of interest does not presently insulate you from an eviction. This means you can't have the case "dismissed" or "voided" because of the apparent conflict of interest.
Call the attorney and tell him you are quite upset about the apparent conflict of interest, and you are considering filing a complaint with the California Bar Association. In the meantime, do not ignore the legal process.
You can file complaint against the attorney at the California State Bar Website.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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