Advocate-Witness Rule Barring Attorney Testimony Didn't Apply to Law Firm Employee
LVT Number: #31679
Tenants sued landlord in an HP housing court proceeding, claiming that there were outstanding violations and that landlord had harassed them. Landlord asked the court for an order prohibiting an employee of tenants' attorneys from testifying at trial. Landlord argued that the employee was personally involved in the litigation and therefore must be disqualified from testifying under Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) Section 3.7(a). The court ruled against landlord. That rule applied only to attorneys, not to a law firm's agents or employees. The employee in question was a paralegal and no different from office investigators that law firms could call on to testify concerning disputed facts. Also, the RPC rules applied where there was an actual conflict of interest, which was not the case here.
LaSalle v. 1777 GC LLC: Index No. 19689/2019, 2021 NY Slip Op 50915(U), NYLJ No. 1633542962 (Civ. Ct. Bronx; 9/23/21; Ibrahim, J)