Ethics Opinion 922
Background: The inquiring attorney represented a condominium homeowners’ association from time to time in various matters. The inquirer was asked to undertake the defense of the HOA for the alleged nonpayment of the condominium’s water bill. The attorney anticipates that in defending the HOA, he will have to implead certain unit owners, some of whom the inquirer represented in the acquisition of their units. The inquiring attorney does not currently represent the unit owners in any capacity. The inquiring attorney asks whether it is ethically permissible to undertake the defense of the HOA in the water bill action.
Opinion: The committee found that a lawyer may represent a prospective client in litigation that could involve impleading former clients if the current litigation is not substantially related to the matters on which the lawyer represented those former clients. However, in the impleader action, a lawyer may not be able to reveal or use certain information relating to the former clients.