LEO: Conflict of Interest - Multiple Clients -  LE Op. 719


Conflict of Interest - Multiple Clients - Former/Subsequent Clients.


August 30, 1985


An attorney originally represented four clients in a claim involving an

automobile accident, but one of those clients terminated the

attorney/client relationship and retained another attorney. The original

attorney has been advised by one of the remaining clients that the former

client was not injured in the accident but was injured by a previous event

and is, therefore, committing a fraud on the liability carrier. The

original attorney believes that the amount of liability insurance will not

cover all claims. If the former client is successful in perpetrating the

fraud on the liability carrier, there may be less coverage available to

compensate the remaining three clients for their legitimate injuries.


If the attorney is to continue representing the remaining three clients,

the attorney must advise the uninformed clients of the intended fraud

because that fraud may deplete the fund from which the remaining three

clients might recover. [See: DR:5-105(C)]


Committee Opinion August 30, 1985