When a Judge May Remove Counsel
A trial judge may order the removal of counsel where there is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Here, the judge disqualified B&C based on a violation of R.P.C. 1.7, which states, in pertinent part, that "a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest." In evaluating whether a conflict exists, however, we are mindful that "[a] corporation is regarded as an entity separate and distinct from its shareholders." Tully v. Mirz, 457 N.J. Super. 114, 123 (App. Div. 2018) (quoting Strasenburgh v. Straubmuller, 146 N.J. 527, 549 (1996)). Additionally, "a corporation is regarded in law as an entity distinct from its individual officers, directors, and agents." Printing Mart-Morristown v. Sharp Elecs. Corp., 116 N.J. 739, 761 (1989) (citation omitted).
Failure to Distinguish a Corporation from a Shareholder/Owner
Guided by these well-established legal principles, the court concludes that the trial judge erred in finding a conflict between Travelers and Alam. In reaching that conclusion, the court held that the judge failed to distinguish Ameribuilt, the corporation, from Alam, an owner and shareholder.
Robert Alam v Ameribuilt Contractors, Docket A-2114-21,474 N.J. Super 30, 284 A 3d 1172 (N.J.App. Div. 2022)
Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., Judge Erred in Finding a Conflict in Representation, Workers' Compensation Blog, Oct. 31, 2022), https://workers-compensation.blogspot.com/2022/10/judge-erred-in-finding-conflict-in.html
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Blog: Workers ' Compensation
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters