A federal judge in Indiana has disqualified a lawyer representing a plaintiff in a collection lawsuit because the lawyer previously worked at a different firm that represented the defendant, according to a published report.
Jamie Lynn Holmes filed a lawsuit against Credit Protection Association, alleging the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by calling her using an automatic telephone dialing system in an attempt to contact someone else. The company continued calling after Holmes revoked consent to be contacted because the number did not belong to the intended recipient of the calls.
In the case, Holmes was being represented by James Vlahakis of the Sulaiman Law Group. Vlahakis, however, once worked at Hinshaw & Culbertson, which represents Credit Protection Association. The judge agreed to disqualify Vlahakis because he had previously spent 60 hours working on behalf of Credit Protection Association in a similar lawsuit that Holmes had filed against the company, according to the report.
Lawyers in Indiana are prohibited from representing a client “in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client.”
Because both cases “assert that CPA violated the TCPA by calling the plaintiff using an ATDS,” the judge wrote “there is a substantial risk that confidential factual information as would normally have been obtained in Vlahakis’s representation of CPA would materially advance Holmes’s position in this case.”