418 MEADOW STREET ASSOCIATES, LLC v. ONE SOLUTION SERVICES, LLC.

2009 Ct. Sup. 527
No. 1007863Connecticut Superior Court J.D. of Fairfield Housing Session at Bridgeport
January 6, 2009

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.]

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
MOORE, J.

On August 28, 2008, the Plaintiff, 418 Meadow Street Associates, LLC, filed an action against the Defendant, One Solution Services, LLC, for the non payment of back rent. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant, who leases and occupies Suite 100, 418 Meadow Street, Fairfield, CT, has failed to pay rent under the terms of the lease and accordingly, the plaintiff is seeking monetary damages.

Presently, this matter is before the court on defendant’s motion to disqualify counsel for the plaintiff, namely Attorney Kupinse. The defendant argues in its memorandum in support of its motion as well as its supplemental memorandum that counsel was not properly appointed or hired by the members of the plaintiff’s LLC in accordance with the operating agreement. The plaintiff, in his objection to the motion, argues (1)the lack of standing for the defendant to make that claim and (2) the ability of a LLC to act when one party of the LLC has an adverse interest to the LLC.

It has been clearly stated that the trial court has the authority to regulate the conduct of attorneys and has a duty to enforce the standards of conduct regarding attorneys. Bergeron v. Mackler, 225 Conn. 391
(1993). A trial court has broad discretion to determine whether a lawyer should be disqualified. Id. See also Yamin v. Savarese and Schefiliti, P.C., 58 Conn App. 171 (2000). Yet, before the court can reach that inquiry, the court must first resolve the issue of standing to raise this motion.

“Standing is the legal right to set judicial machinery in motion. One cannot rightfully invoke the jurisdiction of the court unless he [or she] has, in an individual or representative capacity, some real interest in the cause of action, or a legal or equitable right, title or interest in the subject matter of the controversy . . . Gay Lesbian Law Students Assn. V. Board of Trustees, 236 Conn. 453, 466 (1996) (quoting Unisys Corp v. Dept. of Labor, 220 Conn. 689,693, 600 A.2d 1019(1991). CT Page 528

Both the plaintiff and the defendant have presented, in their memorandums, decisions from fellow Superior Court judges regarding the issue of attorney disqualification for the 418 Meadow Street Associates, LLC. The plaintiff has presented 418 Meadow Street Associates v. One Solution Services LLC, Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. CV07-5006780 in which the court (Stodolink, J) ruled, inter alia, that the defendant did not have the requisite standing to challenged the hiring of counsel for the plaintiff, i.e Attorney Kupinse, in that particular case.

The defendant has presented in its argument People’s Bank v. 418 Meadow Street Associates LLC, et al Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. CV07-5007172. The court in that case (Maiocco, J) ruled in favor of that plaintiff on a motion to disqualify Attorney Kupinse as counsel for 418 Meadow Street Associates, LLC. Judge Maiocco relied on the failure to comply with the operating agreement.

“The competing interests at stake in the motion to disqualify, therefore, are: (1) the [moving party’s] interest in protecting confidential information; (2) the [non-moving party’s] interest in freely selecting counsel of their choice; and (3) the public’s interest in the scrupulous administration of justice.” (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted) Bergeron, supra 398. In People’s Bank, the court relied on the fact that counsel was representing only two members of the defendant LLC and that representation could compromise the interests of the remaining member. Furthermore, the remaining member indicated an objection to the defenses and legal strategies of counsel which enhanced the conflict and dictated an agreement between the members as to representation per the operating agreement.

In the present case, by the affidavit provided by the defendant, the remaining member of the plaintiff’ LLC has indicated that she does not have an interest which is adverse to the plaintiff. The action has been brought to seek money due under the terms of the lease by the parties. The plaintiff should have the ability to freely select counsel of their own choice as long as it does not affect the scrupulous administration of justice. Here, the court must weigh these factors in favor of the plaintiff.

Furthermore, the defendant in this case is not a member of the plaintiff LLC. The defendant does not have the ability to assert rights belonging to others or to which they have not contracted for the right to assert. When standing is put into issue, the question is whether the person whose standing is challenged is a proper party to request an CT Page 529 adjudication of the issue. Malerba v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 210 Conn. 189, 192, 554 A.2d 287 (1989). As stated by Stodolink, J in his decision, the defendant cannot sort of juxtapose themselves on the possible rights of the members of the plaintiff LLC. This court adopts the same rationale for this matter.

Accordingly, the Defendant’s Motion to Disqualify Plaintiff’s Counsel is denied.

CT Page 530