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Thank you for the post and I am sorry to hear of your injuries and your troubles.
It would appear that your attorney is beginning to have significant concerns regarding the merits of the case and, perhaps, apprehension about trial. Slip and Fall cases are notoriously difficult and generally require that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and performed insufficiently in their duty to remediate the situation.
That being said, attorneys' conduct is governed by the Rules of Ethics adopted in each state. For New Jersey, those ethical obligations are set forth at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/apprpc.htm
Rule 1.4 addresses communication between attorney and client and, in your case, seems to be at issue. It states as follows:
RPC 1.4. Communication
(a) A lawyer shall fully inform a prospective client of how, when, and where the client may communicate with the lawyer.
(b) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
(c) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
(d) When a lawyer knows that a client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law, the lawyer shall advise the client of the relevant limitations on the lawyer's conduct.
I would send a letter to the lawyer indicating that you are entitled to the information in your file and, if it is not provided, you will have to seek remedial measures. THose remedial measures may include filing a grievance.
In New Jersey, by Supreme Court rule, all grievances must be in writing and filed with the secretary of the district ethics committee for the district in which the lawyer has his or her main law office. Because there are currently 17 district ethics committees throughout the state, you are advised to telephone the Ethics/Fee Arbitration Hotline at 1-(800)-406-8594. After you enter the zip code of the attorney's office address, you will be transferred to the appropriate district ethics committee Secretary to request grievance forms. If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you may print an Attorney Grievance Form. Send the original and two (2) copies to the district secretary where the attorney has an office for practice.
When you complete and file an Attorney Grievance Form, you must provide sufficient detail about the facts of your grievance such as names and addresses of all witnesses, dates, and pertinent documentation to serve as a basis for further investigation. Failure to provide important facts and copies of important documents may result in a delay in the consideration of the grievance while the documentation is obtained.
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I am afraid I cannot create new ways to resolve dispuites. I can only provide information as to the ways that are available.
I understand the time constraint. That is why I suggested above as follows: "I would send a letter to the lawyer indicating that you are entitled to the information in your file and, if it is not provided, you will have to seek remedial measures. Those remedial measures may include filing a grievance."
Attorneys are often highly sensitive to potential complaints and would very rapidly respond.
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