Judicial Council of California Issues Opinion in Vince Moreci Vs. Scaffold Solutions Case
Prior to the dismissal of Moreci's action, Starstone intervened, seeking reimbursement from the defendants for the amount of benefits it had paid to Moreci. Boxer Gerson became associated co-counsel for Scaffold, who then filed an answer to Starstone's complaint in intervention. Starstone moved to disqualify Scaffold's attorneys on the ground they created a conflict of interest by representing Moreci in the underlying action against Scaffold, obtaining a settlement of that action, and then assuming the defense of Scaffold to Starstone's claims in intervention. The trial court held Starstone had no standing to seek the disqualification of counsel and denied the motion. Starstone appeals, asserting essentially the same arguments in support of standing it had raised below. We reject its claims of error, and we affirm.
The Parties and the Pleadings
Starstone was the workers' compensation carrier for Moreci's employer and paid Moreci
Moreci, through his counsel Boxer Gerson, filed an answer to Stockham's cross-complaint.
The Disqualification Motion
Moreci and Scaffold separately opposed the motion. Moreci argued Starstone lacked standing because Starstone had no "attorney-client, confidential, or fiduciary relationship with counsel." Moreci and Scaffold each maintained Starstone also failed to establish the standing requirements under the exception in
Starstone replied to the opposition, refuting the contention it lacked standing based on its right under the workers' compensation statutes (Lab. Code, Sec. 3850 et seq.) to seek reimbursement for compensation benefits it had paid to Moreci. According to Starstone, it had standing because its reimbursement right constitutes "a clear, concrete and particularized interest" that would be invaded by Boxer Gerson's continued participation.
After conducting a hearing on
* * *
1/ Stockham's cross-complaint is the only document in the record in which the terms of the indemnification provision appear; a copy of the settlement agreement is not included. Also, the indemnification provision as alleged refers to Moreci's agreement to defend and indemnify as to "Cross-Complainant" Stockham only, and not any other defendants. However, we will assume, as the parties do, that Scaffold was a party to the settlement agreement and Moreci agreed to defend and indemnify Scaffold. Furthermore, we note that our resolution of this appeal does not require us to interpret the indemnification provision or address whether it is enforceable, and we decline Starstone's invitation for us to do so.
* * *
View full opinion at https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A161193.PDF
Court To Decide Whether German Footballer Faked Death For Life Insurance
Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente Lead the Way, as Customer Satisfaction With Health Insurance Rebounds, ACSI Data Show
Health/Employee Benefits News
Life Insurance News