Motions to disqualify opposing counsel for conflicts of interest occur often in litigation. Responses to such motion usually focus on the merits of the conflict allegations. However, it is important to know that the granting or denial of disqualification motions rests with the sound discretion of the trial court. A court may deny a motion, even if it might have substantive merit, if equitable factors do not justify the remedy of disqualification. A recent example of a court using this equitable analysis to deny a disqualification is Reeves v. The Town of Cottageville, 2:12-cv-02765-DCN (D.S.C.) where Judge Norton denied the defendant’s motion to disqualify plaintiff’s counsel because it was made shortly before trial, was known by defense counsel before the lawsuit was brought, and would prejudice the plaintiff by delaying the trial.
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