The undersigned has been asked to handle a personal injury case involving a passenger on a truck who was injured as a result of an accident which occurred out of this State. In order to protect my prospective client’s interest, it will be necessary for the under-signed to sue the employer of the driver of said truck, who is a corporation, and the owner of the truck who leased same to the employer of the driver.
The case was referred to the undersigned by a law firm who hold a fifty percent interest in the corporation that employ the driver of said truck. No divisions of the fee will take place between the undersigned and the referring attorneys. The case is being referred to the undersigned because of possible conflict of interest involved in this action.
Is it proper for the undersigned to take a referral of a case from the holders of a substantial interest in stock of a prospective party defendant?
A client is at all times entitled to independent counsel, and to the undivided fidelity of such counsel. When an attorney with an adverse interest settled a case, and referred the matter to another attorney simply to prepare papers to implement the settlement, this committee has expressed the view that such undivided fidelity did not exist (Opinion No. 183).
It is not sufficient that there be no division of fees.
Under the facts you have stated, however, it appears that you will be free to act in the best interests of your client, without any impediment by the attorneys who suggested your name. If this is so, and if you disclose to the client the fact of the interest of the referring attorneys, we believe that it would be proper for you to represent the client.
Dated: March 7, 1961.