United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER [DOCKET NO. 28]
J. Koppe United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is attorney Christopher Burk's motion to
withdraw as counsel for Plaintiffs. Docket No. 28. Mr. Burk
filed a supplement. Docket No. 38. The Court previously set a
hearing on the matter, but now finds one to be unnecessary
and the hearing is VACATED. See
Local Rule 78-1. For the reasons discussed below, the motion
to withdraw is hereby DENIED.
fundamental premise, counsel is under an obligation to see
the work through to completion when he agrees to undertake
the representation of a client. Streetman v.
Lynaugh, 674 F.Supp. 229, 234 (E.D. Tex. 1987). As such,
leave of Court is required for an attorney to withdraw from a
case. Local Rule IA 11-6(b). Whether to allow withdrawal is
an issue entrusted to the sound discretion of the Court.
LaGrand v. Stewart, 133 F.3d 1253, 1269 (9th Cir.
1998). District courts are given “considerable
deference” in making that decision. Whiting v.
Lacara, 187 F.3d 317, 320 (2d Cir. 1999) (collecting
applicable rules generally permit an attorney to withdraw if
continued representation of the client will result in an
“unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer.”
Nev. R. Prof. Conduct 1.16(b)(6). The fact that a case is not
as profitable as counsel had hoped and will involve
substantial expense does not constitute an
“unreasonable financial burden” for which
withdrawal is permitted. McDaniel v. Daiichi Sankyo,
Inc., 343 F.Supp.3d 427, 432 (D.N.J. 2018) (applying
analogous New Jersey rule). Moreover, withdrawal of an
attorney may be denied where it will delay the proceedings.
Local Rule IA 11-6(e).
Burk's motion is predicated on his assertion that
continuing to represent Plaintiffs would impose an
unreasonable financial burden on him. See Mot. at 3.
The Court disagrees. This case arises out of a timeshare
purchase in the amount of $12, 659.21. See Compl. at
¶ 19. Plaintiffs paid $4, 000 to a non-party company
assisting purchasers in obtaining relief from timeshare
contracts, moneys that included payment for Mr. Burk to
litigate this case on Plaintiffs' behalf. See
Suppl. at ¶¶ 1-3. Hence, this is not a situation in
which clients have stopped paying their attorney and, to the
contrary, Plaintiffs already prepaid for Mr. Burk's
representation. Mr. Burk argues that moneys he had been
receiving from the non-party company have dried up because it
has gone bankrupt. See Id. at ¶¶ 16-18.
Turning off that spigot has left Mr. Burk without sufficient
revenue and his own firm filed for bankruptcy. See
Id. at ¶¶ 21, 23; see also Docket No.
32. The source of Mr. Burk's financial hardship is the
business failure of his firm and the non-party company,
events orthogonal to Plaintiffs. While the failure of Mr.
Burk's business endeavor resulted in financial strain, he
has not shown that requiring him to continue to represent
Plaintiffs in this case based on their full payment
already made could be considered an
“unreasonable” financial burden-he must simply
provide the services for which Plaintiffs have already paid.
allowing withdrawal at this stage will result in delay. Mr.
Burk has agreed to continue representing Plaintiffs through
the rest of discovery, which will be completed within a few
days. See Suppl. at ¶ 23. Dispositive motions
are due in a few weeks. See Docket No. 19. Allowing
Mr. Burk to withdraw at this procedural posture would
inevitably delay the filing and briefing of motions for
for the reasons discussed above, Mr. Burk's motion to
withdraw as counsel for Plaintiffs is
DENIED. Mr. Burk is advised that he must
diligently pursue this case on Plaintiffs' behalf.
The Clerk's Office is INSTRUCTED to mail
a copy of this order on Plaintiffs at their address at Docket
 Expecting that supplement may include
some privileged information, the Court ordered that it be
filed under seal. See Docket No. 29. The vast
majority of that information is not privileged, however, and
is already known to opposing counsel. See Docket No.
34. Accordingly, some of the facts provided in that filing