The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 70-52

November 23, 1970
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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.

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.