'Oasis West": What's a Lawyer to Do?


By all accounts of the oral argument on April 6 in Oasis West Realty, LLC v.

Goldman, the California Supreme Court was troubled by a lawyer's decision,

after representing a client who sought approval for a real estate development

plan, to turn around and take overt, public action to undermine the former

client's efforts with regard to that development after the attorney-client

relationship was over. Assuming the justices write an opinion that says the

lawyer's conduct may have been unethical and may give rise to a tort cause of

action by his former client, it will be interesting to see how the court defines

lawyers' duties on a going-forward basis, and whether the court believes its

rule is sufficiently novel to warrant prospective-only application.

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