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Posted in Newsletter on June 1, 2022   |  by Gary Burger

Ethics in Litigation II

Can a Lawyer Represent the Driver and Passenger in a Car Crash?

It depends! If there can be no allegation of fault on the driver, yes (e.g. rear-end crash) but if there can be, then no.

Rule 1.7 Prevents "concurrent" conflicts of interest - if the representation of one client is directly adverse to another client or if there is a significant risk that representation will be "materially limited" by lawyer's responsibilities to another client.

Even with concurrent conflict of interest, the attorney can still represent both if:

  • Reasonable belief the attorney will provide competent and diligent representation;
  • Representation that is not prohibited by law;
  • The representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client
  • Each affected client gives informed consent.

BE CAREFUL! - "Representation of clients whose interests are directly adverse in the same litigation constitutes the most egregious conflict of interest." State ex rel. Horn v. Ray, 325 S.W.3d 500 (Mo.App. E.D. 2010).

Safest practice: Refer the better case to your friends at Burger Law. You cannot risk a comparative fault instruction against the driver.

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