MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.
Pending before the Court is plaintiff Dr. Habib Sadid's Motion to Disqualify Counsel and Stay Proceedings. See Dkt. 201. The Court has determined oral argument would not significantly assist the decisional process and will decide the motion without a hearing. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will deny the motion.
The only remaining defendant in this case is Graham Garner. Plaintiff argues that defense counsel cannot properly represent Mr. Garner due to an alleged conflict of interest with all former defendants in this case as well as the defendants in Dr. Sadid's identical state-court action. See Mot. Mem., Dkt. 201-2, at 7; see Sadid v. Idaho State Univ., et al., Case No. CV-2011-3455-OC (Bannock Cty., filed Aug. 23, 2011).
Motions to disqualify counsel are decided under state law and are committed to the discretion of the trial court. In re Cnty. of L.A., 223 F.3d 990, 995 (9th Cir. 2000); Crown v. Hawkins Co., 910 P.2d 786, 794 (Idaho Ct. App. 1996). Under Idaho law, "[t]he moving party has the burden of establishing grounds for the disqualification.'" Crown, 910 P.2d at 794. Because motions to disqualify opposing counsel are potentially misused for tactical purposes, they are subjected to "particularly strict judicial scrutiny.'" Optyl Eyewear Fashion Int'l Corp. v. Style Co., 760 F.2d 1045, 1050 (9th Cir. 1985) (citation omitted). Additionally, parties who seek to disqualify opposing counsel should do so "at the onset of the litigation, or with promptness and reasonable diligence' once the facts upon which the motion is based have become known. A failure to act promptly may warrant denial of the motion." Crown, 910 P.2d at 795 (internal citations omitted).
Plaintiff did not act promptly in this case. His disqualification motion is based on President Vailas' deposition testimony, which was given some 18 months ago in May 2012. During his deposition, Vailas said Garner was not speaking for Vailas or ISU when Garner commented on Dr. Sadid's termination. That deposition testimony allowed Dr. Sadid to survive summary judgment on his defamation claim. The Court highlighted the testimony in its May 2013 decision:
Two competing inferences can be drawn from... [Vailas'] testimony. The first inference, most favorable to Dr. Sadid, is that Vailas meant Garner was not acting in the course and scope of his employment. The second inference, more favorable to Garner, is that President Vailas was not commenting in any detail on Garner's job description, but was instead stating that he did not think Garner's statements accurately reflected his or the university's view. The defendants effectively ask the Court to adopt this second inference, but the Court cannot do so in ruling on a motion for summary judgment - especially when President Vailas has not submitted any affidavit further explaining what he meant. As it stands, President Vailas' unvarnished deposition testimony is sufficient to overcome the presumption that Garner was acting in the course and scope of his employment. The jury will therefore need to decide this question.
May 2, 2013 Decision, Dkt. 135, at 19.
Dr. Sadid has not adequately explained why he waited so long to pursue a disqualification motion based on President Vailas' deposition testimony. This very lengthy delay - combined with the fact that plaintiff dropped this motion on defense counsel (and the Court) just two weeks before trial - militates against disqualification.
More substantively, the Court finds that Dr. Sadid has failed to demonstrate a conflict of interest. Idaho Rule of Professional Conduct 1.7, which addresses conflicts of interest, provides as follows:
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) below, a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A ...