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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 3201
Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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Im a plaintiff to a civil case that had its initial scheduling

Resolved Question:

I'm a plaintiff to a civil case that had it's initial scheduling conference last week .... I'd speculated that my attorney had done little of the work he said he'd done and filed ... The initial scheduling conference confirmed the following: No attempts to get in contact with defendants attorney to see if settlement was possible .. he said he'd reached out three times, the amended complaint had never been amended and stil had false claims for damages I did not suffer, multiple documents that had been filed with the court had never been given to me and I could not get them because they had been sealed ... the list goes on and on ... to some extent has pretty much done nothing he said he'd done ... and he'd left the complaint un amended ... which had significant content issues and false claims ,,,,

what are my options in regard to his representation .... I know that I can fire him, if I do so I'm worried about a couple things ... the time between terminating him and getting another attorney up to speed may be happening as they seek to dismiss some of my claims ... or could even seek summary judgement ...

Who don I report this behavior too ... and how do I make sure his continued representation until I have someone else in place won't end up with the defendants making the changes in regards XXXXX XXXXX false claims by dismissing them ....

Is there a protocol for replacement of one attorney to the next that the defendants lawyers usually agree too, or the judge will .. any suggestions would be of help
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 8 months ago.

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I'll do my best to assist you.I can only provide general information, so a follow up consult with a private lawyer is recommended. I am sorry to hear of this! One moment please as I get you some information.

LegalGems :

Generally the court will allow a continuance while a party is securing alternate counsel. That is quite common. At the next scheduled hearing, you would request a continuance based on the fact that you don't have an attorney. Or you can ask the other side to "stipulate" ie agree to a continuance, and then you can contact the clerk to reschedule.

LegalGems :

Here is the complaint form for filing a complaint against an attorney: http://vsbc.vipnet.org/ This pamphlet explains the process:http://www.vsb.org/site/regulation/inquiry

LegalGems :

Here is a link to the Professional Rules of Conduct: http://www.vsb.org/pro-guidelines/index.php/rules/preamble/

Customer:

can't the opposing counsel as early as tomorrow seek summary judgement or make motions to dismiss claims .... I'm so far in to the case based on what he told me ....which was false ... but now feel unprotected ...it's going to be difficult to untangle the stuff I know about ... him dropping a 2 defendants he wasn't suppose to ... I need to get rid of him immediately .. but it doesn't seem like the superior court rules speak to a lawyers misconduct ... who has already made decisions that I did not authorized and/or knew nothing about ..He's never even amended the complaint like he was suppose to ... he should have done that many months ago

LegalGems :

Keep in mind that you can bring a malpractice action against him if you suffer monetary damages due to his negligence. They can make these motions (summary judgment and motion to dismiss) but generally a court will allow a continuance until a party is able to secure representation. As long as there is no undue delay, it is usually granted.

LegalGems :

The professional rules of conduct speak to misconduct, not the superior court rules.

Customer:

Oh he knows about malpractice .. he ran the case for the last 6 months with that in mind ... that;s why afer 8 months of sitting on his hands we were put into track three mediation .... I do believe that a case based on a significant amount of punitive damages isn't ideal for non=binding mediation ..I do believe he sat on his hands and did nothing to make sure we got sent to mediation ... where his liability and/or malpractice claims are difficult to bring ... I'm told same goes for arbitration ....

Customer:

Actually I've been told malpractice lawsuits are a no win situation for clients .. dead end .. time, energy , money issues

LegalGems :

It depends- if negligence can be proven, and damages suffered as a result, then a plaintiff can get a favorable judgment. Most attorneys have malpractice insurance to cover them in such an instance.

Customer:

Can a motion for summary judgement be answered ? Can motions for dismissal be answered ? If they can I don't feel as nervous about the gap between old and new attorney

LegalGems :

Yes, they can be answered- you would do a response to the motion(s). So the new attorney would be able to resurrect the case, hopefully!

Customer:

well he produced a damages report he expectyed to recover many months ago ... and then seemingly killed the claims that made up a large amount of these damages ... he's gone as far as altering the voluntary document request ... removing the information that speaks to the claims and speaks to the people he dropped ..he made the documents disappear ..i know it sounds crazy but its obvious ... and scares me what else may be next ....

Customer:

I'll tip you well because im asking a lot of questions

LegalGems :

Do you have an attorney in mind?

Customer:

nope .. i live in dc all the lawyers work for the goverment or large associations etc .. not many who work for individuals

LegalGems :

I see - well, I would suggest that you begin interviewing an attorney immediately. If your current attorney is concerned with the possibility of a civil suit or a state bar complaint, he may cooperate with getting your new attorney "up to speed" so to speak. One good website to check is www.avvo.com and www.lawyers.com.

Customer:

he won't he's become somewhat nuts ... i ask him where all the documents went in regard to the collection process and he blames me for tampering with the documents :)your a consumer protection lawyer .. so I'm thinking you're well versed in FDCPA ... current counsel knew little or nothing, which made liens seem easy to deal with ....but he ignored ... If no verification is done what happens to the debt .... if fabricated amounts are included in such liens

LegalGems :

Here is a federal rule re: attorney incompetence. http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_60. It allows for an order/judgment to be overturned due to an attorney's mistake. Most states have some kind of case law in regards XXXXX XXXXX and I'm sure the new attorney will be able to play with this.

Customer:

Can I ask you some questions abotu FDCPA .... I'm pretty well versed ,,, but need some form of validation I'm on right track .. will help me decide on specialty of other attorney v... it could be consumer it could be real estate i

Customer:

i thoguht about incompetence :) same rule

LegalGems :

Verification was requested? They need to provide verification and if they don't it is considered a violation of the FDCPA - but generally only actual damages are awarded.

Customer:

what would happen to the lien ..

LegalGems :

The site's rules require one question per thread, so to discuss FDCPA I'm supposed to request that you open a new thread, or I'm violating the terms of my contract with the site.

Customer:

Also the lien was filed before verification .. I don't think that's a big deal ,,, If their collection letter, the same one they used in their response to our complaint ,,,,Was dated July 7th , 2012 and gave me to July 22nd 2012 to respond or have lien filed etc etc .. Certainly an error to give 15 and not 30 days ,,, but how important is this ... may be another way to delay them as I get new counsel in place

Customer:

oh ok

Customer:

so how do i make sure i get you

Customer:

the live chat is so much more effective

LegalGems :

You would just put TO LEGAL GEMS in front of the question, or you can request me. Sorry, I know it is a hassle ...

Customer:

got ya thank you ill rate this and open another

LegalGems, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 3201
Experience: Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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