Justice Eileen A. Rakower


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Patient Cicala sued Dr. Jacobs for medical malpractice alleging he departed from accepted standards of medical care in performing a reduction mammoplasty. Her attorneys were substituted with Tacopina & Siegel (T&S). Jacobs moved to disqualify T&S claiming he consulted them and divulged confidential information related to licensing and regulation of his license. He recalled retaining T&S thereafter, and claimed as Cicala’s complaint alleged licensing and regulatory matters, T&S should be disqualified as counsel. T&S argued Jacobs consulted with them to evaluate and pursue potential defamation claims, but had no written agreement. Also, it noted Jacobs consulted the firm nearly six years before the alleged malpractice, arguing Jacobs sought disqualification for tactical reasons, not for any real conflict. The court found Jacobs failed to show matters involved in the prior representation were substantially related, noting the issues here were not identical or essentially same as this suit involved Jacobs’ alleged malpractice, and his consultation with T&S involved either defamation or regulation. Jacobs also waited over nine months after T&S was substituted as counsel to bring this motion, giving the appearance of being made for tactical reasons. Disqualification was denied.