Feldman v. Feldman
A husband's position as the secretary of a closely held corporation may not be sufficient to disqualify the law firm that represents the closely held corporation from also representing the husband's former wife in a dissolution action. The plaintiff husband, Joshua Feldman, requested that the court dissolve his marriage to the defendant, Jutharat Feldman. The defendant hired the law firm of Trendowski & Allen. The plaintiff moved to disqualify the defendant's law firm, because the defendant and the plaintiff are the president and secretary, respectively, of Rice Spice Noodles, and Trendowski & Allen represents Rice Spice Noodles in an unrelated summary-process action. The defendant wife objected that there is no conflict of interest. The court found that Trendowski & Allen's representation of Rice Spice, a closely held corporation, did not automatically result in an attorney-client relationship between the attorneys and each individual shareholder, director or officer of the corporation. Here, the plaintiff husband failed to provide any evidence that a traditional attorney-client relationship existed between the plaintiff and the law firm of Trendowski & Allen. The plaintiff did not argue that Trendowski & Allen will represent Rice Spice Noodles with less zeal, because it also represents the defendant wife in a dissolution. The plaintiff failed to establish that Trendowski & Allen's representation of the defendant would result in an unfair advantage. The defendant is the president and sole shareholder of Rice Spice. "[E]ven assuming that the Trendowski & Allen law firm obtained confidential information about Rice Spice Noodles, Inc. in the summary process action," wrote the court, "it almost certainly is no different than the confidential information it could obtain from the defendant now." Absent evidence that Trendowski & Allen obtained confidential information about the plaintiff from the summary-process action that it could not have otherwise obtained from the defendant in the dissolution action, there was no evidence of unfair advantage that merited disqualification of defendant's counsel. The court denied the plaintiff's motion to disqualify.