An attorney has been consulted by both A, the passenger, and B, the driver, of a car involved in an automobile accident. Each came to the attorney’s office and signed retainer agreements which the attorney filed with the Appellate Division.
B was too busy to give the attorney full information at the time of the interview, and promised to return later. Several months thereafter he had failed to appear, and the attorney notified him that he “no longer represents him”.
In order to properly protect the interests of A, the attorney feels that B as well as the operator of the other car involved in the accident should be made party-defendants. He states that no information has been given to him which would in any way be detrimental to B were the latter to be made a party-defendant.
Would it be ethically proper for the attorney to bring an action on behalf of A and name B as a party-defendant?
While B, the driver of the motor vehicle, did not give the attorney full information regarding the accident, he conferred with the attorney, and signed a retainer agreement.
Under the circumstances, the attorney cannot, with propriety, name B as a party-defendant in A’s action without consent. If A’s interest cannot be fully protected without bringing suit against B, and B does not consent to be made a party-defendant, the attorney should withdraw from the case.
Dated: June 25, 1958.