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Eubanks v. Klickitat County

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2

June 3, 2014

Robin Eubanks et al., Respondents,
v.
Klickitat County et al., Petitioners

Oral Argument March 31, 2014.

Appeal from Clark Superior Court. Docket No: 11-2-00802-2. Date filed: 05/07/2013. Judge signing: Honorable Robert a Lewis.

Michael E. Mcfarland Jr. (of Evans Craven & Lackie PS ); and Francis S. Floyd and John A. Safarli (of Floyd Pflueger & Ringer PS ), for petitioners.

Thomas S. Boothe ; and Philip A. Talmadge and Sidney C. Tribe (of Talmadge / Fitzpatrick ), for respondents.

AUTHOR: Bradley A. Maxa, J. We concur: Thomas R. Bjorgen, ACJ, Linda CJ Lee, J.

OPINION

Maxa, J.

[181 Wn.App. 616] ¶ 1 David Brown and Klickitat County appeal the trial court's denial of their motion to disqualify Thomas Boothe, counsel for Robin Eubanks, Erin Gray, Anna Diamond, and Kathy Hayes (collectively " the plaintiffs" ) in

Page 797

their sexual harassment suit against Brown. The trial court ruled that even though Boothe was Brown's former attorney he was not disqualified under Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.9 or RPC 1.18. We do not reach the merits of Brown's disqualification motion because we hold that Brown waived any right to require Boothe's disqualification because of the delay in filing his motion to disqualify. Accordingly, we affirm.

FACTS

Brown's Communications with Boothe

¶ 2 Brown, who at the time was a deputy prosecuting attorney for Klickitat County, decided to run for Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney in the 2010 election. As Brown was preparing to announce his candidacy, he became concerned with legal issues surrounding his decision to run for office. One of his concerns related to the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. § § 1501-08, which restricts the political activities of individuals running for political office when they are employed in government positions that receive federal grant funds. Brown also was concerned about his rights as an at-will employee because another candidate for the prosecuting attorney position had been fired after she announced her candidacy.

[181 Wn.App. 617] ¶ 3 In May 2010, Brown contacted Boothe, an attorney with employment law expertise, for advice. During the month of May, Brown and Boothe had several telephone conversations and exchanged numerous emails. The communications focused on the legal implications of Brown's decision to run for prosecuting attorney and other matters regarding Brown's employment.

¶ 4 In May 2010, Brown announced his candidacy to the public. A few days later, prosecuting attorney's office employees Eubanks and Gray filed a grievance accusing Brown of inappropriate conduct. On June 12, Brown called Boothe and talked with him for approximately 15 minutes. According to Brown, he informed Boothe that the ...


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