The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 76-18

April 22, 1977
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An assistant city attorney who also represents a private claimant against insurers of his employer
city must withdraw from representation of the claimant when one of the insurers files a third
party complaint against the city.

DR 4-101; DR 5-105
Vice Chairman Taylor stated the opinion of the committee:
An inquiring attorney represents a widow and administratrix of the estate of a
former municipal employee suing two insurance companies as “consecutive group
life and health carriers” for the municipality.
One insurer has filed a third party complaint seeking to hold the municipality
liable to it should it be held liable to the plaintiffs.
The inquiring attorney is a partner of the City Attorney and is himself an
Assistant City Attorney.
The claim that the city may be held liable is not entirely frivolous as
demonstrated by the fact that the third party complaint has withstood a motion to
We are asked what course the inquiring attorney should pursue.

It is obvious that there is a conflict of interest. The inquiring attorney and his partner
should withdraw from the litigation. DR 5-105 and DR 4-101.