Joseph Whiting (plaintiff) filed a civil-rights action seeking $9,999,000 arising from termination of his employment as a police officer. Whiting retained his third attorney in the case, Garrett Lacara (appellant), in December 1997. The trial court dismissed Whiting’s due-process claims and set the remaining claims for trial. Twelve days before trial, Lacara moved to withdraw from representing Whiting. Lacara asserted that Whiting ignored legal advice, demanded publicity, would not assist during trial, insisted on raising collateral arguments and already-dismissed claims, drafted a judgment offer without Lacara’s consent and demanded Lacara serve it, and stopped paying fees. Lacara also claimed Whiting trespassed in his office and riffled his inbox, requiring a call to 911. The day before trial, the court denied Lacara’s motion to withdraw, prompting an immediate appeal and request for an emergency stay. The appellate court granted the stay, but denied leave to withdraw. The trial court denied a second motion to withdraw, and Lacara again appealed. The Second Circuit considered both appeals together.