In the matter of Manning v. Vellardita, C.A. No. 6812-VCG (Del. Ch. Mar. 28, 2012), a Section 225 action under the Delaware General Corporation Law, the Court of Chancery denied Defendants’ request to revoke the pro hac vice admission of Plaintiffs’ out of state attorney and to disqualify him from the case. The motion was filed because the attorney failed to disclose his involvement with another firm which provided legal services to ValCom, Inc., a named defendant in this matter.
In examining a motion to disqualify, the Court provided as follows:
“A motion to disqualify must contain clear and convincing evidence establishing a violation of the [Delaware Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct] so extreme that it calls into question the fairness or the efficiency of the administration of justice.” Additionally, “the Scope of the Rules . . . [does] not contemplate a non-client third party’s enforcement of conflict matters. . . . [unless] that party proves a personal detriment or misconduct which taints the fairness of the proceeding.”
Ultimately, the Court denied the motion based upon its finding that the out of state attorney’s representation of the Plaintiffs did not confer an advantage on the Plaintiffs in such a way that Defendants were unfairly prejudiced in their ability to mount a defense in this case. However, the Court referred the attorney to the disciplinary authority of the attorney’s home state bar association, and to the Delaware Disciplinary Counsel.
Accordingly, this case serves as a strong reminder that non-Delaware attorneys must fully disclose all related representations and affiliations when seeking pro hac vice admission before the Court of Chancery, in order to avoid potential disciplinary action.