Disqualification — Movants Who Are Not Present or Former Clients Lack Standing to Seek Disqualification of Opposing Law Firm (Advocate-Witness Grounds)

Blacktail Mountain Ranch Co., LLC v. Jonas, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13316 (9th Cir. July 30, 2015):

Appellants Edwin Jonas (Jonas) and his company, Blacktail Mountain Ranch Co. (Blacktail Mountain) (collectively, [*2]  Plaintiffs), appeal from the district court's dismissal of their action against Jonas' former wife Linda Jonas (Linda), the attorneys who represented her (collectively, the Attorney Defendants), the state-court appointed receiver, and the receiver's agents (collectively, the Receiver Defendants).

This case involves challenges to the validity and enforceability of a New Jersey judgment against Jonas for unpaid alimony and child support to Linda, among other obligations. Linda subsequently domesticated her judgment in Montana state court.

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2. The district court acted within its discretion in denying Plaintiffs' motion to disqualify Defendants' counsel as advocates who were likely to be necessary witnesses. In any event, Plaintiffs lacked standing to move for disqualification because they were not clients or former clients of Defendants' counsel. See De Dios v. Int'l Realty & Investments, 641 F.3d 1071, 1077 (9th Cir. 2011).

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