On this appeal we review an order of the district court dismissing the plaintiff's motion to disqualify counsel.
The underlying cause of action arises from the sale in March 1976 to Raphael J. Musicus of a condominium in the Playa del Sol development by Westinghouse Electric Corp. [Westinghouse] and its wholly owned subsidiary, Coral Ridge Properties, Inc. [Coral Ridge]. The law firm of Patterson, Maloney, Blyler & Feige [the Patterson firm]
This action was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 21, 1976. The action subsequently was transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida where, on September 14, 1978, the Patterson firm first noted its appearance on behalf of the defendants Westinghouse and Coral Ridge.
On December 6, 1978, the district court denied the motion to disqualify counsel, stating that:
Pursuant to this court's Order of Limited Remand, the district court subsequently amplified its December 6, 1978, order by stating "that it did not reach the merits of
The district court was incorrect in its view that breaches of attorney-client privileges or other ethical duties can only be raised in separate grievance proceedings brought against counsel. See Ceramco, Inc. v. Lee Pharmaceuticals, 510 F.2d 268, 270 (2d Cir. 1975). A district court is obliged to take measures against unethical conduct occurring in connection with any proceeding before it. Woods v. Covington County Bank, 537 F.2d 804, 810 (5th Cir. 1976); Sanders v. Russell, 401 F.2d 241, 246 (5th Cir. 1968). See generally E. F. Hutton & Co. v. Brown, 305 F.Supp. 371, 376-77 (S.D. Tex.1969). A motion to disqualify counsel is the proper method for a party-litigant to bring the issues of conflict of interest or breach of ethical duties to the attention of the court. Id. at 376.
In the instant case, Musicus alleged in his motion to disqualify counsel both that a prior attorney-client relationship existed between the Patterson firm and himself
VACATED and REMANDED.