Thurbon v. Gateway Unified Sch. Dist.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-06-2014
  • Case #: 12-15104
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Rawlinson for the Court; Circuit Judge Tallman and District Judge Rice
  • Full Text Opinion

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals only has jurisdiction to hear appeals of final judgments, with the exception of collateral orders; the disqualification of counsel and ethical sanctions intertwined with the disqualification of counsel are generally not considered collateral orders and therefore not within the Court’s jurisdiction.

Robert Thurbon (Thurbon), attorney for plaintiff Kendall Lynn (“Lynn”) in an action against Gateway Unified School District, appeals the district court's order finding that he committed ethical violations, and disqualifying him from representing Lynn. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit was faced with determining whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The panel acknowledged that they only have jurisdiction over final judgments, with the exception of collateral orders. According to the United States Supreme Court, orders that disqualify or sanction attorneys are not collateral orders, with the exception of sanctions against a government official that may affect a criminal proceeding. The panel found no exception to the general rule present in this case, and accordingly dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. APPEAL DISMISSED.

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