Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ruth denies move to disqualify plaintiff attorney who once represented defendant

By The Madison County Record | Jun 1, 2016

Attorney Courtney Stirrat of Maryville, who withdrew from a federal suit against a business she once defended, continues to litigate against it in Madison County. 

In April, Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth denied a motion to disqualify her as counsel to plaintiff William Martin in an injury suit against SCF Lewis & Clark Fleeting. 

“Defendant has not alleged any involvement by Ms. Stirrat in the present case that would necessitate the disqualification of plaintiff’s counsel,” Ruth wrote. 

“Ms. Stirrat did not work on plaintiff’s case while employed, as an associate attorney, at a prior defense firm retained by defendant. 

“Rather, she appears to have handled recurrent garden variety maritime injury cases of a similar type. 

“Defendant has failed to show that any of those cases involved the same or substantially the same matter.” 

In a federal court suit against an affiliate, SCF Lewis & Clark Marine, the question of her disqualification never came to a hearing. 

She withdrew in January, a day after the defendant moved to disqualify her. 

In each case, SCF Lewis & Clark also sought to disqualify the entire firm of Armbruster Dripps, where she works. 

When Ruth denied Stirrat’s disqualification, he also denied it for the firm. 

As of May 27, the motion to disqualify the firm from the federal suit remained pending before District Judge Staci Yandle. 

She plans a bench trial starting Aug. 1, for plaintiff Anthony Miskel. 

After Stirrat withdrew from the suit, retired U.S. district judge Patrick Murphy of Marion entered an appearance for Miskel.

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