Motion to Withdraw as Counsel of Record Denied Because It Was Filed on the Eve of Trial


In this patent infringement action between Golden Bridge Technology, Inc. ("Golden Bridge or GBT") against Apple, Golden Bridge's counsel moved to withdraw as counsel of record because Golden Bridge had failed to pay the legal bills. As explained by the court, "[s]ince this case appeared on the undersigned's docket, Plaintiff Golden Bridge Technology Inc. has been represented by attorneys from the McKool Smith firm. With GBT's consent, McKool now seeks to withdraw as GBT counsel based on the client's failure to pay its bills."

Although the court was sympathetic to the plight of the attorneys, it did not believe that granting the request to withdraw was appropriate. "This court is quite sympathetic to the idea that attorneys ordinarily should not be made to work for free. But here two key factors weigh against granting McKool's withdrawal request. First, no other attorneys have appeared for GBT. Even in the time since McKool filed its motion, no new attorneys have appeared. Second, trial is upon us. Jury selection is May 30, and opening statements are set for the following Monday. All pretrial motions have been briefed, and the parties are set to appear for a final pretrial conference this Friday."

As a result, the court believed that the trial would have to be continued if the motion was granted and that would be unfair to Apple. " If the court were to grant the motion, it is difficult to imagine how this trial could proceed as scheduled. And rescheduling the trial would simply shift the burden to Apple, which hardly would be fair."

Accordingly, the court denied the motion to withdraw as counsel of record.

Golden Bridge Technology Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 5:12-cv-04882-PSG (N.D. Cal. May 14, 2014)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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