In Hendry v. Hendry, download file, Vice Chancellor Parsons denied a motion by the defendant to disqualify plaintiff’s counsel in light of a claim that the law firm for the plaintiff had represented the defendant in the past, and thus, it was alleged, Rule 1.9 of the Delaware Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the duty of loyalty to former clients was violated.
Relying on prior decisions of the court, and a case styled Sanchez-Caza v. Estate of Whetstone, 2002 WL 2087922 (Del. Super.), the court reasoned that even assuming, without deciding, that Rule 1.9 was violated, based on the facts presented, there was no impact on the fairness or integrity of the pending legal proceedings. In addition, this case had been pending for several years, and the court also found that disqualification at this stage would unfairly prejudice the plaintiff. Although it was not necessary for its decision, the court noted that a Rule 1.9 analysis requires that the former representation be “substantially related” to the current matter, and that the former attorney would have likely received confidential data from the former client that could be used against the former client in the current proceeding.
In closing, the court also ruled on an unrelated motion to quash a supboena under Chancery Court Rule 45, and found that technical defects in the form of the subpoena were not sufficient to quash a subpoena, but that in any event, motions to quash must be filed on a timely basis.