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Appeals Regarding Disqualification of Judges or Counsel

An order of a judge refusing to disqualify himself/herself is ordinarily an interlocutory decision is not directly appealable in the absence of a statute providing for appealability of an interlocutory decision of the kind involved.[i]

Generally, an order either disqualifying or refusing to disqualify a law firm is not appealable.[ii]  However, an order is final and appealable when it disqualifies a law firm which has represented a defendant during the trial from continuing its representation during an appeal, due to a conflict created when an attorney who represented the plaintiff joins the firm.[iii]  Orders denying motions to disqualify opposing counsel merely administer the course of litigation, and are thus are interlocutory and nonappealable.[iv]  If the granting of a motion to disqualify counsel has immediate and irreparable consequences for both the disqualified attorney and the individual who hired the attorney, it may be appealable.[v]

[i] Wilson v. Loustalot, 85 Cal. App. 2d 316, 193 P.2d 127 (4th Dist. 1948).

[ii] Matter of Devlieg, Inc., 56 F.3d 32 (7th Cir. 1995).

[iii]Kala v. Aluminum Smelting & Ref. Co., 81 Ohio St. 3d 1 (Ohio 1998)

[iv]Arney v. Finney, 967 F.2d 418, 23 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 174 (10th Cir. 1992);

[v] Travco Hotels, Inc. v. Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc., 332 N.C. 288, 420 S.E.2d 426 (1992).

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