Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be helping you resolve your matter.Please remember there may be a delay as I may be helping other customers.
did you have a retainer agreement stating his fees?
do you have all the past invoices he billed for?
do you have the letters you sent after each one disputing the charges?
what was the basis for your objections to past bills?
Yes there was a retainer agreement stating fees of $400 per hour.
Yes I have all the past invoices he billed for
Yes I have all the emails I sent him disputing the charges
I felt he spent too much time on tasks that were not directly related to my case. I had told him that the first priority was to make sure that my husband and me were safe and he instead charged for reviewing mail that was forwarded, overcharged time for telephone calls i.e. instead of charging for 30 mins he would charge for 1 hour. Etc. I have no proof that this was done, only my emails contesting the expenses.
Trust me you have more than most people. At least you kept records. My recommendation to prepare for the case is to go through all of the past billings and show what he billed, show the overcharged amounts and then show the difference. You can then show he overbilled you to the tune of X amount and that will defeat any claims he has for the $3000 he now has the nerve to sue for. Present your case systematically and use an excel spreadsheet that is clear.
billed for X Billed this amount should have billed this amount Excess Amt.
Then go down the list, that way the judge can easily at the end of the list and the total see the amount you were overbilled easily and clearly. that is my recommendation to you. I hope this helps. Please click "accept" so that I receive credit for answering your question. I am happy to answer your follow up question at no extra cost. Thanks and best regards.
You don't recommend that I call him or email him and settle this dispute with him directly? I might not be able to prove $3000 overcharge because he wasted so subtly.
Ex. He was supposed to handle a DOL matter for my husband. He called DOL but never told us what happened. The only time I knew about it was when I was invoiced. Can I mention that to the judge? How do I mention that in terms of how much he shoudl have charged? I don't know. I only know that we did not receive information that we were supposed to.
that is always an option but normally if a person sues you I assumed he had already sent you this bill and you disputed it, so that was why I did not recommend that...of course you should try to settle it directly with him, but that will make him believe he is correct and can win in court, so just beware of how you approach him.
As to his failure to provide information that is an issue for the state bar, you can complain about but not an issue for the judge. Actually, when you contact him you can use that as leverage that you will file a complaint with the state bar for his unethical conduct and his failure to keep you reasonably informed of the status of your case. that is a huge deal with the state bar and many attorneys are disciplined for it. Maybe that is the stick you need to make him back off.
I hope this helps. Please click "accept" so that I receive credit for answering your question. I am happy to answer your follow up question at no extra cost. Thanks and best regards.
Before I can click accept I have another quesiton about this.
If he does get a judgement against me and my husband and the company what will happen? The reason why I ask this is that these are attorneys and I am an ordinary person with no knowledge about the law. It is very possible that they could beat me down in court and win.
1. Will they garnish my wages?
2. Will I find that suddenly $3000 is deducted from my bank account?
3. Will this ruin my credit rating?
What other methods can be used to get the money from me?
When I go to court, I need to take all of the invoices also Or do I take only my excel spreadsheet? Do I need to take my emails contesting the amounts also ?
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).