Michael XXXXXXXX is unlawful and unethical. He was paid $7500 to handle a DUI case, I have the following information: copy of cashed check, he never called, never showed up for court, I have the court minutes showing he was not present, I was told that the court should have fined him. He never had me sign a retainer, when I went in to try to collect the monies with no hard feelings as he seemed to busy to handle case, he became angry and said he would falsify documents so he would not have to return money. I went to the high power attorney and advised him of his associates wrong doing. I also mentioned that there were 4 reviews on the internet with the same senario. The attorney recommended I have my friend go in and talk to him as she is very business savy. He cancelled the appointment with her and offered to refund the money to maker of the check. However the maker of the check was not the client nor was it his money. Several people put money in and he wrote the check and was now out of the picture. So that 3rd party check would have been invalid, it doesn't matter who wrote the check, the receipt of the check indicates payment for the client. The attorney called the maker of the check and asked him to send an e-mail saying he had not been reimbursed for the clients case, which he did. My friend left a voicemail for the attorney explaining that he just broke the attorney and client confidential agreement. She explained that the maker of the check was no longer in the picture, we wanted the money refunded to the client, not to mention we had to hire another attorney as Mr. Molfetta never did the work. My friend and I went to his office and his secretary called him and said we were there at his office, he said he was going to the state bar and hung up on her. The secretary was clearly upset, she advised us to go to the state bar as we have all the tools to succeed and we will get back more than the 7,500. Please advise if this is true, we have all documentation to support all the above, not to mention all the trips we made to the court house and when he did not show up the case had to be post poned. This has been extreamly stressful, this man is so horrible. Does the State bar make the decision of how much he should refund if they agree?
State/Country relating to question: California
Meeting with the attorney
Having the new attorney try to reason with him.
Going to the Senior Partner as my friend knows him personally.
We just wanted the money back, it was his secretary that said take him to the state bar, you will get more than 7500 and he will have to pay for the other attorney, all your trips to court and all the paid and suffering of this.
I'm sorry to hear this.http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/FilingaComplaint.aspxhas a link to the form and instructions for filing a complaint against a California lawyer with the State Bar.The State Bar can in fact order restitution if it finds you are owed money based on what you described, which I understand as basically, he was paid a flat fee to handle a case and did not handle and missed Court appearances. The State Bar can order restitution but cannot award damages for pain and suffering.You also have the option of suing the lawyer and his law firm for a refund.http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc100info.pdfstates that you sue in small claims court for up to $7500. If you want to try to sue for more than that, you would have to do so in Superior Court.The statute of limitations for breach of an oral contract in California is 2 years. So you might decide to see if the State Bar resolves the problem and if it has not done so, then you can file in small claims court. The main guidebook used by Small Claims Judges in California is posted athttp://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/protem/pubs/bg34.pdfhttp://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/index.shtmlalso has a lot of information on using small claims court.You can get a free consultation from some of the legal malpractice attorneys listed athttp://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/firm/Legal-Malpractice/Newport-Beach/CaliforniaSuing in Superior Court might be worth while if you had to pay a different attorney more than the $7500 that MM charged you to handle the case. I urge you to consult a local attorney who can go over all the facts with you in confidence and advise you. Only a local attorney can give you legal advice, but I hope this information is helpful.
Thank you for your advice, I don't believe I need an attorney. I have everything to submit to the state bar. He was willing to give the money back to the maker of the check but not the client. What's up with that? Perhaps a stall tactic?
Maybe he was afraid the maker of the check would ask for a separate refund, I'm not sure.If he really performed no services, there is a very high probability the State Bar will order restitution. If it turns out that the money has vanished, you should be able to recover from the Client Security Fund, seehttp://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/ClientSecurityFund.aspxHopefully that will not become necessary.
Thank you for accepting my answer.
I saw you posted a follow up question on the feedback page. Thank you for the positive feedback.The answer is Yes, you can sue for a refund in either Superior or small claims Court, and file a complaint with the State Bar at the same time. These are completely separate processes, and you are not limited to having to choose one or the other.I hope this information is helpful.
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