Monday, April 05, 2010

Shalant v. Girardi (Cal. Ct. App. - April 5, 2010)

It's a good day for disbarred California attorney Joseph Shalant, who not only learned today that the Court of Appeal reversed a (substantial) judgment against him for insufficient evidence, but who also sees the Court of Appeal reverse the dismissal of his own lawsuit against the adverse party.

But he shouldn't celebrate too soon. It may perhaps be that the reversal of the judgment against Shalant will stand, since -- like the Court of Appeal -- I don't see any precedent for the position that a suspended and/or disbarred attorney is required to advise his clients precisely why he's ditching a case. Should he? Yeah. Does the law require it? I doubt it.

But the reinstatement of Shalant's own lawsuit is another question. There's a split in the Court of Appeal here, with the current panel holding that Shalant's lawsuit couldn't be dismissed even though Shalant is a vexatious litigant who was litigating pro per because the lawsuit was initially filed by an attorney. That may, or may not, be right. But given the importance of the question, as well as the split below, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the California Supreme Court grant review on that issue. As, indeed, it should. IMHO.

So a likely victory for Shalant, but part of which may not necessarily last forever.