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McGriff v. Christie

477 Fed. Appx. 673 (2012)

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McGriff v. Christie

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

477 Fed. Appx. 673 (2012)

Facts

Sharon Kornegay suffered from bleeding and pain after Dr. Russell Adkins performed surgery on her. Adkins did not believe Kornegay was really suffering and did not treat her any further. Another doctor performed a second surgery. The medical center where Adkins had performed the operation suspended Adkins’s privileges, in part because of Adkins’s abandonment of Kornegay. Adkins telephoned Kornegay and told her that the medical center was committing racial discrimination against Kornegay and Adkins. Adkins advised Kornegay to speak with Adkins’s lawyers, George McGriff and Eric Wyatt (plaintiffs). McGriff then visited Kornegay and offered representation in a racial-discrimination suit. Kornegay raised the issue of a conflict of interest, and McGriff claimed that Adkins and Kornegay were the victims of racial discrimination and Adkins had done nothing wrong. Kornegay reluctantly agreed to hire McGriff and repeatedly brought up her concerns about the conflict of interest and about her potential malpractice case. McGriff continued to insist that that Kornegay had no grounds for a malpractice suit. Months later, McGriff asked Kornegay to agree to waive the conflict, and Kornegay refused, stating that she did not consent to the use of her confidential information in McGriff’s representation of Adkins. Kornegay hired a new attorney, and McGriff withdrew because a conflict had arisen between Adkins and Kornegay. Adkins found a new lawyer who withdrew years later. McGriff entered his appearance on Adkins’s behalf. Arthur Christie (defendant), the administrator of the medical center, who had never been a client of McGriff, filed a motion to disqualify based on the conflict of interest. The trial court granted Christie’s motion based on Rule of Professional Conduct 1.9(a). McGriff appealed, partly on the basis that Christie had no standing because he had never been a client of McGriff.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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