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Sayer v. Boyle, Deveny, & Meyer, P.C.

Supreme Court of Montana

July 2, 2013

KYEANN SAYER, Plaintiff and Appellant,
BOYLE, DEVENY, & MEYER, P.C., Defendant and Appellee.


On June 27, 2013, the law firm of Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades, P.C, (hereinafter Sullivan) filed a document with the Clerk of this Court entitled Notice of Withdrawal of Counsel, whereby it withdrew its appearance on behalf of the defendant Boyle, Deveny & Meyer, P.C. (hereinafter referred to as Boyle) in the instant action. Attorney Quentin Rhoades signed the notice of withdrawal on behalf of the Sullivan firm, and Shareholder John Boyle signed the notice on behalf of Boyle, indicating consent to the withdrawal. The notice further indicated that future notices in the matter should be directed to attorney Liesel Shoquist of the law firm of Milodragovich, Dale & Steinbrenner, P.C. The notice of withdrawal containing the address of new counsel was served on Plaintiff Kyeann Sayer (Sayer).

On June 28, Sayer filed with the Clerk of this Court her "Objection to Appellee's Unlawful Notice of Withdrawal of Counsel." Sayer argues that because Craig Mungas of the Sullivan firm previously appeared as counsel of record, Quentin Rhoades has no authority to withdraw as attorney of record. She further argues that, pursuant to §§ 37-61-401, -403, and -404, MCA, the courts of this State must recognize only Craig Mungas as attorney of record, and that she and this Court "must ignore the acts of any other attorney in the conduct or disposition of this case." Maintaining that the Sullivan firm itself never put in an appearance as counsel of record for Boyle, Sayer argues that we must deny the request for withdrawal of appearance, and further, that we should not recognize Liesel Shoquist as new counsel for Boyle. Sayer asserts that this Court "has no power to rule upon Quentin Rhoades' request on Boyle's behalf."

We reject Sayer's objection. She cites no authority for the proposition that another representative of the law firm representing the opposing party cannot act on behalf of the firm. Moreover, we note that Sayer's pleadings before this Court consistently name the Sullivan firm as an addressee. In addition, we point out that, pursuant to § 37-61-403, MCA, the attorney in an action may be changed at any time "(1) upon consent of both client and attorney, filed with the clerk or entered upon the minutes; (2) upon the order of the court, upon the application of either client or attorney, after notice from one to the other." The Sullivan firm and Boyle fully complied with the provisions of this statute. Finally, we note that under § 37-61-404, MCA, "written notice of the change and the substitution of a new attorney . . . must be given to the adverse party. Until then, the adverse party shall recognize the former attorney." Again, the Sullivan firm fully complied with this statute by providing written notice of the change and substitution of counsel to Sayer.

Contrary to Sayer's assertion, this Court does have the power to rule upon the request of the Sullivan firm to withdraw as counsel for Boyle. Accordingly,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, with Boyle's written consent, the firm of Sullivan, Tabaracci, and Rhoades, P.C. is hereby withdrawn as counsel of record for Boyle.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any and all future notices in this matter be directed to Liesel Shoquist at the address set forth in the Notice of Withdrawal of Counsel.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that should Sayer refuse to serve future notices upon Shoquist, she shall do so at her peril.

The Clerk of this Court is directed to serve notice of this Order upon all counsel of record, and upon Sayer at her last known address.

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