No Fiduciary Duty Arose When One Attorney Hired Another Attorney to Argue a Motion For Him

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In an unpublished opinion from the California Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Division Four) in Ostly v. Salinas dated December 10, 2010, the court ruled that no fiduciary relationship was created when one attorney hired another to argue a motion on his behalf. In reaching this decision, the Court of Appeal relied on Beck v. Wecht (2002) 28 Cal.4th 289, 298.

Attorney Ostly hired attorney Salinas to argue a motion for attorney’s fees in an unlawful detainer case. Later, Salinas represented several of Ostly’s former clients in an unrelated case in which Ostly was seeking attorney fees from those former clients. In an action for breach of fiduciary duty brought by Ostly against Salinas, Ostly contended that Salinas was acting improperly in handling this unrelated litigation because Salinas had obtained from Ostly confidential information about settlements.

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