Taxpayers, Homeowners and Tenants Protective Ass'n, Inc. v. Haber, No. 80-5155

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore HILL, GARZA and THOMAS A. CLARK; PER CURIAM
Citation634 F.2d 182
Decision Date12 January 1981
Docket NumberNo. 80-5155
PartiesTAXPAYERS, HOMEOWNERS AND TENANTS PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION, INC., a Florida non-profit Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Leonard HABER, as Mayor and individually et al., Defendants-Appellees. Summary Calendar.

Page 182

634 F.2d 182
TAXPAYERS, HOMEOWNERS AND TENANTS PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION,
INC., a Florida non-profit Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Leonard HABER, as Mayor and individually et al., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 80-5155
Summary Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Jan. 12, 1981.

Joseph A. Wanick, Miami Beach, Fla., for plaintiff-appellant.

John A. Ritter, Thomas M. Pflaum, Asst. City Attys., Miami Beach, Fla., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before HILL, GARZA and THOMAS A. CLARK, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

This is an appeal from the disqualification of the attorney representing plaintiffs in a suit pending below. The action was filed by the Taxpayers, Homeowners and

Page 183

Tenants Protective Association, Inc. against the mayor of Miami Beach, its city commission, and the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency, alleging that these officials violated the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1985, by illegally transferring title to certain property.

Plaintiff's attorney, Joseph A. Wanick, had been city attorney for some twenty years, until February, 1979. The suit was filed in October of 1979. The defendants moved to disqualify Wanick, arguing that he had been "intimately involved" in the redevelopment project of which the challenged conveyance was an important part. They contended that his representation contravened Canon 9-101(B) of the Florida Bar's Code of Ethics:

A lawyer shall not accept a private employment in a matter in which he had substantial responsibility while he was a public employee.

The district court held a full evidentiary hearing, and ordered Wanick's disqualification, finding that "Mr. Wanick was instrumental in advising the City Commission on all legal aspects of the redevelopment plan.... and that the matters involved in the pending suit are substantially related to those matters in which Mr. Wanick participated in as City Attorney."

On this appeal, Wanick and the plaintiffs contend that the district court erred (1) where, in their view, the evidence showed no involvement on Wanick's part in the disputed transaction; (2) in refusing to hold that the new city attorney was estopped to move for disqualification where he had allegedly committed a breach of ethics by representing individual defendants at taxpayers' expense; (3) in rejecting the argument that defendants had waived any objection to the...

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2 practice notes
  • Cobb Publishing, Inc. v. Hearst Corp., No. 93-CV-71771-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 31, 1995
    ...332 (D.C.Mass.1983); Sunkist Growers, Inc v. Benjamin H. Ansel Co, 221 USPQ (BNA) 1077 (Comm'r Pat 1984); Taxpayers Ass'n, Inc v. Haber, 634 F.2d 182 (C.A.5 1981); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 49 L.Ed.2d 342, 96 S.Ct. 2392 TEXT A lawyer is a principal in a law firm, which is primari......
  • Ah Ju Steel Co., Ltd. v. Armco, Inc., Appeal No. 82-1
    • United States
    • United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
    • June 10, 1982
    ...determination.5 At least one court has so treated such a finding. Taxpayers, Homeowners and Tenants Protective Ass'n, Inc. v. Haber, 634 F.2d 182, 183 (5th Cir. 680 F.2d 754 1981). We assume without deciding that whether an individual had substantial responsibility in a matter is a factual ......
2 cases
  • Cobb Publishing, Inc. v. Hearst Corp., No. 93-CV-71771-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • January 31, 1995
    ...332 (D.C.Mass.1983); Sunkist Growers, Inc v. Benjamin H. Ansel Co, 221 USPQ (BNA) 1077 (Comm'r Pat 1984); Taxpayers Ass'n, Inc v. Haber, 634 F.2d 182 (C.A.5 1981); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 49 L.Ed.2d 342, 96 S.Ct. 2392 TEXT A lawyer is a principal in a law firm, which is primari......
  • Ah Ju Steel Co., Ltd. v. Armco, Inc., Appeal No. 82-1
    • United States
    • United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
    • June 10, 1982
    ...determination.5 At least one court has so treated such a finding. Taxpayers, Homeowners and Tenants Protective Ass'n, Inc. v. Haber, 634 F.2d 182, 183 (5th Cir. 680 F.2d 754 1981). We assume without deciding that whether an individual had substantial responsibility in a matter is a factual ......

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