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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Internationational Commercial Attorney
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I think my attorney is in over his head. Im out of money so

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I think my attorney is in over his head. I'm out of money so want to try to figure the rest of this out myself.

I am suing a local business organization who ripped me off for web work. I've got an amazing paper trail that they are now very aware of via a meeting post mediation. Their response was an offer that was only a few hundred over what they owed me. Problem is I spent $10k on legal bills getting to this point. They say they will claim bankruptcy if they lose in court. They are a non-profit with $15k in assets, 1 employee at around $51k a year, and 180 members at $300/year each. All thing being fair, I would win in court, but then be out $20k to show for it. How do I get them to fairly compensate me for the original bill, legal fees, and damages, given that they're being so difficult about it?

Thank you for your question.

Did you happen to have a written contract which controlled the work between you and the Chamber?

Did that contract provide for attorney's fees to the winner of a dispute?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No I had a work order defining the deliverables.

Well, I'm not sure there is really a satisfactory answer to your question.

The crux of it is that you have to continue pressing the claim. An assertion that the Chamber will declare bankruptcy sounds like a bluff to me.

However, because the law in New Hampshire is that each side bears its own attorneys fees unless there is a specific rule authorizing attorneys fees, it may be in fact impossible for you to recover the out of pocket costs here since the invoice did not specifically provide for attorney's fees in case of a dispute.

What are you suing for exactly? Breach of contract?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm replying by typing part of the letter my lawyer wrote to the mediator ...

I Breach of Contract

Plaintiffs provided services for which the Chamber did not pay; unilaterally and without authorization or permission, removed the plaintiffs from the [Chamber's website] listing, thereby resulting in the removal from the Linkedin connection, and prevented plaintiffs' recognition as website developer, all without justification.


II Breach of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

The Chamber was under a duty of good faith and fair dealing in its relationship and transactions with plaintiffs and breached its duties of good faith and fair dealing by failing to provide agreed-upon compensation and related benefits. The Chamber breached its duties of good faith and fair dealing by contracting with another business to provide for services that plaintiffs were providing.


III quantum meruit

Plaintiffs provided website creation, as well as programming of the website, design to make the website interactive. The Chamber was aware of the plaintiffs' work and consented to the project. The plaintiffs reasonably expected to be paid for the services provided as well as receive notice and credit for the work performed in bringing the website to completion.


IV Unjust Enrichment

The Chamber received the benefit of plaintiffs' services in providing website creation and design elements without compensation plaintiffs for the value of these services... [re the other firm]


V Negligent Misrepresentation

[sorry hands are getting tired just going to type the titles, let me know if you need more]


VI Conversion


VII Tortious Interference with Advantageous Business Relations


IX (there is no VIII) Violation of RSA 358-A


Any reasonable jury will find them guilty, the paper trail is absolute. But the lawyer for the other side says if they lose in court they'll declare bankruptcy. I have to spend another $5k to $10k in court to get maybe my original $1700. I guess I agree they're probably bluffing. I am thinking of writing to the newspapers -- I did this for principle, not for money, but I never expected to be out so much money before we even got to trial.

It's a very troubling aspect of the American legal system that each party has to bear their own attorneys fees, as it often means that you don't end up being fully compensated for your loss because you have had to spend so much.

However, that being said, there are a few claims that you have that would allow you to get more than your economic damages (i.e., the amount that they owe you). in fact, if you establish a consumer protection violation (RSA 358-a), the court can award you your attorney's fees.

So, at this point, I would talk to your lawyer about continuing representation of you on a contingency basis and really pushing the consumer protection violation so you can recover attorney's fees. If your lawyer won't agree, you might see if there are any other lawyers who would be willing to press your case on a contingency basis and agree to only recover the attorney's fees awarded after you establish the consumer protection violation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good idea. I will talk to him about that.

I hope this helped.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating does not cause an additional charge and will not prevent us from further working together on your questions.

Best Regards,
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