Koo v. Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc., 109 Cal. App. 4th 719 (2003)

An attorney representing a corporate defendant in a class action lawsuit concerning allegedly unpaid overtime wages for managers filed a declaration stating that he represented both the employer and its managers. The attorney later clarified that his only intention was to put opposing counsel on notice that the employer’s managerial agents were “represented parties” within the meaning of Rule of Professional Conduct 2-100 and not to suggest that he represented the managers (many of whom were members of the putative class of plaintiffs) in their individual capacities. Since the face of the original declaration conveyed the impression that the attorney represented all parties to the action (i.e., the employer and the employees) the trial court disqualified the attorney from further participation in the case. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order, holding that the attorney’s declaration could not, by itself, create an attorney-client relationship with the employee managers where none otherwise existed.