READING INTERNATIONAL, INC., a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
THE MALULANI GROUP, LIMITED, a Hawaii corporation, Defendant-Appellee
Submitted to Motions Panel September 14, 2015.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. D.C. No. 1:13-cv-00133-JMS (KSC). J. Michael Seabright, District Judge, Presiding.
Disqualification of Counsel
The panel granted appellee The Malulani Group, Inc.'s motion to disqualify counsel for appellant Reading International, Inc., Bronster Fujichaku Robbins.
The panel applied Hawaii law, which has adopted the " substantial relationship" test for reviewing attorney disqualification where a representation may be adverse to the interests of a former client, codified at Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct (" HRCP" ) 1.9(a). The panel concluded that two representations -- the pending appeal and a prior case -- were substantially related, and held that attorney Kenneth Robbins was barred from representing Reading in the pending appeal under HRCP 1.9. The panel further held that Robbins' disqualification was imputed to the Bronster Firm under HRCP 1.10(c). The panel also held that The Malulani Group had not waived its right to seek disqualification of the Bronster Firm. The panel concluded that the Bronster Firm was disqualified from representing Reading in this appeal.
Margery S. Bronster and Rex Yoshio Fujichaku, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins, Honolulu, Hawaii, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
Jay S. Handlin and Lindsay N. McAneeley, Carlsmith Ball LLP, Honolulu, Hawaii, for Defendant-Appellee.
Before: Stephen Reinhardt, A. Wallace Tashima, and Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Circuit Judges.
Appellee The Malulani Group, Limited (" TMG" ) moves to disqualify counsel for appellant Reading International, Inc. (" Reading" ), Bronster Fujichaku Robbins (" Bronster Firm" ). TMG seeks disqualification because attorney Kenneth Robbins, a partner at the Bronster Firm, previously represented TMG while a partner at the firm Robbins & Associates.
We have jurisdiction over the appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We grant the motion to disqualify counsel. We express no opinion ...