I was retained by the owner of a building (T), who is and has been a client of mine for upwards of fifteen years, and by two tenants of the same building, for the purpose of instituting a suit against a third tenant (CB) for property damage sustained by the building and the aforesaid tenants due to the pipes of an air-conditioning unit bursting causing considerable water damage to the building and the property of the tenants.
I instituted an action in the Supreme Court, New York County, for the three plaintiffs for the reason that the aggregate sum was over Ten Thousand ($10,000.00) Dollars. Separately, each would be brought in the City Court.
An action (Action No. 2) in the City Court, New York County, was instituted by an attorney (F), on behalf of another tenant (M) against the tenant (CB) and the installer of the air- conditioning unit as well as the company maintaining the unit.
An action (Action No. 3) was instituted by an attorney (P) for a tenant (W) against the tenant (CB) and the installer of the air-conditioning unit as well as the company maintaining the unit.
Thereafter action number two obtained an order serving a supplemental summons upon the owner of the building (T) making him a third party defendant.
The third party defendant (T), my client, (one of the plaintiffs in Action No. 1) is represented by an attorney of his insurance company.
A note of issue has not as yet been filed, inasmuch as the attorney for third party defendant (T), has not completed his examination before trial.
I am of the firm belief that the owner of the building (T), is not legally liable for any damages.
However, in view of the fact that the owner of the building has been made a third party defendant, I would appreciate your opinion as to whether I may in propriety continue to act as attorney for the other two tenants, knowing that other attorneys deemed it advisable to make the owner of the building a third party defendant.
I have advised the two tenants, whom I represent, of the circumstances and they have consented that I continue to act for them without making the owner a third party defendant. However, I still believe I should get your opinion.
If you deem it improper for me to continue to represent both these tenants, would it be proper for me to suggest to the two tenants to retain the firm in whose suite I have rented an office and with whom I am not otherwise connected in any manner?
It is not deemed improper for the attorney to represent the landlord and the two tenants provided the tenants’ consent thereto was received after full disclosure of all the facts including the fact that other tenants had seen fit to join the landlord as a defendant. (See Canon 6)
Dated: December 15, 1959.