United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CHUCK MCRAE, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
PAUL S. MINOR, ET AL. DEFENDANTS
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISQUALIFY COUNSEL
Keith Ball UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Disqualify Counsel for
Plaintiffs . For the reasons stated herein, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, the Court
finds that Chuck McRae and Oliver E. Diaz, Jr. should be
disqualified from representing any party other than
themselves in this case, including the Oliver Diaz Law Firm,
LLC and the McRae Law Firm, PLLC. While Diaz and McRae may
not represent the law firm plaintiffs in this case, they may
appear pro se as parties.
case concerns a dispute about attorneys' fees. The
plaintiffs are individual attorneys, Chuck McRae and Oliver
E. Diaz, Jr., and their respective law firms, McRae Law Firm,
PLLC and Oliver Diaz Law Firm, LLC. They claim that the
defendants, Paul S. Minor, Estate of Sylvia Minor, Paul
Stephen Minor, and Kathryn Minor, owe them money for legal
services rendered in a previous lawsuit against an insurance
company. The lawsuit resulted in a recovery from the
insurance company, and although they were paid a portion of
the recovery for expenses and attorneys' fees, the
plaintiffs claim that they are entitled to more than they
signed, written attorneys' fees agreement exists between
the parties. The plaintiffs assert that they have an oral fee
agreement which they seek to enforce in this case. To support
their claims as to the terms of the agreement, the plaintiffs
will rely on the testimony of Chuck McRae and/or Oliver E.
move to disqualify Diaz and McRae as attorneys in this case,
citing Rule 3.7 of the Mississippi Rules of Professional
Conduct. The rule states:
3.7. Lawyer as witness.
lawyer shall not act as advocate at a trial in which the
lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness except where:
(1) the testimony relates to an uncontested issue;
(2) the testimony relates to the nature and value of legal
services rendered in the case; or
(3) disqualification of the lawyer would work substantial
hardship on the client.
Miss. R. Prof. Conduct 3.7.
federal and state courts, in applying Miss. R. Prof. Conduct
3.7, have disqualified attorneys from representing clients in
cases where the attorney is also a necessary witness.
See, e.g., Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Tedford, 644
F.Supp.2d 753, 767-68 (N.D. Miss. 2009); Pearson v.
Parsons, 541 So.2d 447 (Miss. 1989). Here, neither Diaz
nor McRae appear to meet any of the three exceptions
contained in Rule 3.7. Accordingly, since they are ...