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Kala v. Aluminum Smelting & Refining Co.

Supreme Court of Ohio
688 N.E.2d 258 (1998)


Facts

In 1993, Kala (plaintiff) retained the Spangenberg law firm (Spangenberg) as representation, including attorney Pearson. From 1993 to 1995, Pearson represented Kala in a case against Kala’s former employer, Aluminum Smelting & Refining Company, Inc. (Aluminum) (defendant), which was represented by the Duvin law firm (Duvin). Kala disclosed all matters pertaining to his case to Pearson. The trial court directed a verdict in favor of Aluminum, and Pearson filed an appeal on behalf of Kala. On January 8, 1996, Pearson secured a continuance to file Kala’s appellate brief. At the time Pearson was representing Kala in the appeal, Pearson was also negotiating with Duvin to join Duvin. Pearson did not disclose his negotiations with Duvin to Kala. On January 22, 1996, Pearson left Spangenberg and joined Duvin. Kala filed a motion to disqualify Pearson and Duvin from representing Aluminum in the appeal. The court of appeals granted Kala’s motion and disqualified Pearson and Duvin. Aluminum appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stratton, J.)

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