The Florida Bar

November 23, 1970

An attorney may represent a client in an action against a former client if the matter in litigation is not related to the attorney's representation of the former client. In representing the new client the attorney may not use any information obtained through representation of his former client.

CPR: DR 5-105

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar inquires of a possibility of a conflict of interest which essentially involves the following background. The attorney represented A, a client, in a tenant eviction matter, terminating the same with a final judgment. Thereafter, B, a client, sought the attorney's representation to defend a suit brought by A against B, the suit being unrelated to the original representation of A by the attorney and having been instituted by a different attorney.

This inquiry relates to the criteria set forth in CPR DR 5-105. It is the Committee's opinion that the proposed representation of B would not impair the attorney's independent professional judgment and, therefore, the attorney may ethically handle B's litigation. Certainly, the attorney has the responsibility of not revealing to B or using in the course of representing B anything he may have learned from A during the original attorney-client relationship, and this should be clearly explained to B in the initial stage of the new attorney-client relationship.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]