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Jane Doe Deer
Jane Doe Deer, Attorney
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Experience:  Atty. 27+ years; Plain English answers to family law, employment, landlord-tenant, & other questions
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1. I employed an attorney. He co-wrote a contract defending

Customer Question

1. I employed an attorney. He co-wrote a contract defending me in a boundary dispute with the violator and his lawyer.
2. The contract included a clause that any breaching party would be responsible for ALL costs and court fees defending said contract.
3. When the boundary violator breached the resolving contract he & his wife fought to relieve themselves of any obligations to the contract in court my atty instructed me to act "pro se" in any future effort in the case but promised it would be with his instructions and counsel, and his presence in court.
4. He missed court appearances, balked at further instructions and I lost my previously awarded fees due to his absence and my laypersons legal knowledge. My atty said this should NOT of happened awarded fees cannot be denied or rescinded. When I appealed per my atty's instructions my atty left the courtroom when the judge called for a short recess, instead of counselling me. I lost both my awarded fees and my appeal costing me approximately $9K more in losses.
5. I have paid him $9,863.00, being all, the charged amounts up to the time he stopped representing me, instructed me to act pro se, and stopped showing up at court. He was difficult to get counselling from.
6. He claims I owe him another ($9K), despite my disputing these charges and he ignored my requests for a complete accounting of these charges (dates, fee rates, services).
7. He has filed a suit against me using one of his firm's associate attys.
8. I am recovering from a serious illness and have NOT been at my home for some time. When I finally received service of his suit papers the suit included the billing I had disputed and requested on several occasions. I have found it full of discrepencies, i.e., same invoice number with different amounts from my bills recieved.
9. I asked for a postponement, filed my an intention to defend with my current mailing C/O address. My (A) atty's (B) atty wrote that she did NOT object to my request and sent me a certified copy at my current C/O address.

However, since then, and 3 days before the court trial date, atty (B) requested a postponment claiming the Plaintiff (atty A) had to go to a huge legal conference and was not available for the second trial date and who's presence was pertinent to a fair trial. Then she sent my service to my original address NOT the C/O address she had previously used and thereby acknowledged. I only found out about it the day I received the courts ruling on atty (B) postponement which was sent to me at the correct current mailing C/O address.

Since atty (B) DID NOT give me service because she sent my copy to the wrong address and the certificate of service shows she used the incorrect address. They are a large law firm (20 or more attys w/ a pool of 12 secretaries) who unprofessionally ignored my corrected address at their convenience, waited until the last minute to request a postponment stating a cause (out of town legal Conference) which required a date coordinating several lawyers schedules and must have been known for some time.

1. Are their any sanctions I can request?
2. Does knowingly sending service to a wrong address constitute any breach or loss to continue with their suit?

Otherwise I will have to counter sue and list all the above listed reasons: 1. incorrect billing 2. ignoring disputed bills require dates, amts, and services to be made available per fair debt collection laws. 3. Acting pro se without atty representation. 4. Billing reflects full atty's hourly fees. 5. Atty (A) refused to defend the contract he was paid to write. 6. Atty (A) instructed me to file pro se with the empty promise of legal counsel and courtroom presence. 7. and thereby costing me the loss of awarded fees, costs, and a hollow costly victory due to a contract he co-wrote and signed.

Please advise. I understand in Maryland one must file counterclaims 14 calendar days prior to the impending trial. My current trial date being Friday, December 17, 2010. Please advise.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

 

While we write back and forth, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Sometimes I'm unable to read your entire question until AFTER I write back to you.

 

Although it's usually five minutes, sometimes there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be researching the answer to your question, helping other customers, or taking a break. If we are writing late at night, I may have to go to sleep and resume helping you the following morning.

 

I need the following information before I can answer your question:

 

Can you please ask a more precise legal question, preferably in one sentence? I want to make sure that I answer the question that you want answered.

 

Please be aware that JustAnswer.com and Eanswer.com are pay-for-answer web companies. You have offered to pay me $29 for my work and I just need your acknowledgement that you will pay JustAnswer and me for the answer (as long as you are satisfied that I answered your question, of course).

 

I'll look forward to hearing from you,

 

Jane Doe Deer

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1. Are there any sanctions if the service of a motion from a professional lawyer is knowingly sent to an incorrect address?

2. What imnpact can the fact that a lawyer knowingly used an incorrect recipient address on their motion's Certificate of Service have on their suit?

3. Can I ask with any basis that the court to dismiss the suit due to knowing misuse of the Certificate of Service declaration by a licensed attorney?

All the same question asked in different ways.

Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 4 years ago.

Are you talking about your own attorney or the opposing attorney? I'm sorry to have to ask you questions after you wrote so much, but it's really hard to read.

 

Thanks,

 

Jane

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was NOT properly served by an attorney.

I want to know since that atty (with a staff of many) knowingly used an incorrect address to serve me on their Certification of Service can I seek any sanctions?

If so what sanctions may I legally pursue?

 

 

Background:

My atty (A) is suing me using his associate atty (B). I am pro se.

Atty (A) billed me, I disputed the billing, Atty (A) ignored my request for billing documentation.

Atty(B) represents an Atty (A) in this suit against me.

My court correspondence, the court, the Plaintiff's atty, my intention to defend all used my current address.

But, atty(B) sent my copy of their motion to the incorrect prior address. NOT to the address on my intention to defend. NOT the address they used in responding to my motion.

Therefore, I did NOT get service. They knew and had acknowledged my current address in their responses yet did NOT serve me at my current address in this their motion.

 

I want to seek sanctions against their suit due to their UNprofessional incorrectly addressed motion and thereby false certification of service.

 

I got a copy of their certificate of service to find they had sent it to the wrong address.

Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the delay - two phone calls.

 

Now I get it, thank you. It was a bit difficult to follow, even with your clarification. Just write back if I haven't hit the nail on the head yet. Cooltitle="Cool" width="18" height="18"/>

 

Option 1: As part of this same court action (same case number, same court), if you were improperly served, you can file a motion and set up a hearing to request sanctions. Sanctions are usually in the form of monetary penalities, but in the case of a really eggregious error, jail time can be given, too.

 

You would need to support your motion with an affidavit or declaration. On this document, you can state, sequentially/chronologically, what happened, followed by statements regarding how you were harmed. The motion itself would ask for a monetary award, either what the court thinks is right, or an amount you name (with an explanation supporting the amount requested). (I can send you a sample). Again, this would just be for the opposing counsels.

 

Option 2: (No particular order). Anyone can file a complaint against an attorney with the state bar, and the bar will conduct an investigation. You can do that through here: http://www.msba.org/about/service.htm (This process can be used in regards XXXXX XXXXX attorney in your state).

 

Option 3: If your own attorney committed malpractice, you can also sue him or her in civil court (possibly Small Claims Court, depending on the amount).

 

Option 4: If you can afford it, go to arbitration (binding) or mediation (mediators try to help the parties reach a settlement). You can agree to split the fees, and can agree on the arbitrator or mediator in advance. If you go this route, be sure to send a memorandum to the artitrator or mediator at least a week in advance, outlining your position.

 

I hope this answers your question. If so, please click "accept." I'd be happy to help you some more after you accept.

 

My best,

 

Jane

 

 

 

 

Jane Doe Deer, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3864
Experience: Atty. 27+ years; Plain English answers to family law, employment, landlord-tenant, & other questions
Jane Doe Deer and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Please forward:

1. the example/sample you mentioned, and

2. please cite the law references that governs such sanctions, and

3. inform me how much time before the trial I MUST file for these sanctions.

 

My trial date is Dec 17, 2010 my state is Maryland.

 

Once I have the law info and an example I will be very pleased to click on the accept button for your answer. I anxiously look forward to your response.

Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 4 years ago.

I am happy to send you a copy of a sample motion; thank you for accepting.

 

There is no extra charge for this, although bonuses are, of course, appreciated.

 

You can also find court forms here:

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courthelp/forms.html#d and also: http://www.nycourts.gov/litigants/forms.shtml

 

 

You will need to re-title this as a motion for sanctions or something similar. My expectation in giving you this is that you will understand you need to revise it/rewrite it for your own situation. Again, it is just a SAMPLE/EXAMPLE:

 

--------------------------------------------------

 

OK, first pull out your file of documents and find the most recent order or motion.

 

What you're going to do is write a Motion for Order of Sanctions

 

Come up with a form that looks somewhat similar to your previous documents - especially if you have one written by an attorney. The format is not that important, but do try to leave at least 4 inches on the top of the first page, and one inch margins all around. You can write it by hand if you need to, but print neatly.

 

Now, in your motion, you'd say something like this:

 

MOTION

[YOUR FULL NAME] moves this court for an order of sanctions against [the persons's name] and for ADD IF NEEDED. This motion is based on the following declaration [and any exhibits you may have, IF you have any evidence to present to the court].

 

DECLARATION

  • 1. I, [YOUR FULL NAME] am over 18 years old and otherwise competent to testify.

 

  • 2. Statement of first fact

  • 3. Statement of second fact

 

4. Etc etc

  • 4. I am requesting sanctions because I have been harmed as follows: [Explain]
  • 5.
  • 6. Anything else you may want to say that would be important for the court to know.

 

The above statement is true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.

 

Signed Month, Date in [name of city], [state].

 

SIGN HERE

---------------------------

[YOUR PRINTED NAME]

 

Now, take this motion and any attached exhibits and make three or four copies (I always make extras). Mark the original as "original" (preferably in red) and mark the copies as "copy" (any color).

 

Go to the court with your calendar and cash, in case there is a charge and they don't take checks or charge cards. Take the original and copies, of course. (If you are far away, you'll have to call them and ask how to do this by mail) and get the clerk of the court to help you set up a hearing date and time for the court to consider your motion. Ask the court clerk if you need to provide the judge with a "bench copy," and, if so, ask for the local instructions.

 

Now, mail a copy of both the notice of the hearing AND the motion with any attachments to the "other side." This will be an attorney if your opposing party is still represented. Otherwise, just mail it to the opposing party. It's safest to mail this to an opposing party by certified/return receipt mail so that you have a paper trail that you mailed it. You can even photocopy the envelope before mailing it, just in case there's any doubt raised by the judge if your ex doesn't attend the hearing.

 

Then, of course, be sure to attend the hearing and present your case.

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

Your other two questions are brand new, and you will need to start a new question. Moreover, I don't personally want to answer them. Without researching, however, I think that you will find the answers in the Court Rules (you need to buy your own copy). I can't find them online at the moment, but you can find them at any law library. It is crucial that you familiarize yourself with them. In addition, obtain the "local court rules" from the court in which you have found yourself.

 

I hope that helps.

 

My best,

 

Jane

 

(Just write back if I missed anything - I'll be here today and tommorow)

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX how to do a motion. It was if sanctions (were appropriate for improperly served documents) that I was querying. But if the monetary sanctions result in covering the suit then in essence I will have got the court to dismiss the suit due to improper service. That is what I really WANT!

 

I want to know if I can ask the court to dismiss the suit as a sanction for improper service or improperly certifying service of their motion? Or must I go the monetary route? Please advise.

 

AND I appreciate you pointing out that I need those reference materials. WHAT are the exact name(s) of the reference materials you mentioned.

1. Is it "Court Rules" ? Obviously it must be Court Rules for Maryland. Where would they be for sale? Law school text book stores?

2. How do I obtain the additional "local court rules"? You mentioned I could go to court for them. Do I purchase them from the court? Will the clerk be able to sell or direct me to where I can buy one?

Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 4 years ago.

You can certainly ask for a dismissal at the same time, with the same motion. You can have multiple issues in a motion. The dismissal for improper service would probably not result in sanctions against an attorney unless you can prove that the error was made knowlingly. But improper service IS definitely a reason to request a dismissal - and a common one at that - for having cases dismissed.

 

To readdress your bolded question more specifically:

 

I want to know if I can ask the court to dismiss the suit as a sanction for improper service or improperly certifying service of their motion? Or must I go the monetary route? Please advise.

 

You can ask for both sanctions; you don't have to pick one or the other. You can say something like,

 

I ask this court to dismiss this lawsuit and to award sanctions against both the opposing party and the opposing attorney. (I'm short-handing it). Ask for the sky and perhaps the court will award you the moon. Put another way, ask for everything you'd like to be awarded or have happen, all in one motion. You don't need to choose.

 

1. Is it "Court Rules" ? Obviously it must be Court Rules for Maryland. Where would they be for sale? Law school text book stores? YES, A LAW SCHOOL BOOKSTORE IS WHERE I'D LOOK FIRST, MYSELF.

 

2. How do I obtain the additional "local court rules"? You mentioned I could go to court for them. Do I purchase them from the court? Will the clerk be able to sell or direct me to where I can buy one? FIRST, LOOK UP YOUR COURT ONLINE. MANY COURTS NOW HAVE LOCAL RULES POSTED. IF YOU CAN'T FIND THEM, JUST CALL THE CLERK'S OFFICE, EXACTLY AS YOU SUGGESTED. THEY'RE GOING TO BE EITHER FREE OR INEXPENSIVE.

 

The Court Rules will have a section in it about motions. The deadlines will usually be found there, but the local court has the right to tweek some of the state court rules - hence, it's important to always research both state AND local rules.

 

Once you find the two sets of rules relating to the subject, you're not done. For a thorough job, your next step is finding any cases that address the rule(s) you'll be using in whatever you write up (your motion will be longer than I first envisioned it). Do you know how to do this at a law library? I suggest Westlaw, Lexis, or a law librarian to use an attorney's tools.

 

So, when you write up your motion (and again, you can have multiple motions within the same document, such as "motion for sanctions and for dismissal of case") you'll need to not only cite the rules, but also any cases that support your position.

 

It is also a good idea to argue against anything that doesn't look good for you. If, for example, you find a case that may hurt you, deal with it by explaining why it doesn't apply to your case (usually, you rely on the facts of your own case here).

 

I'll check back later to see if I can be of any further help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jane Doe Deer
Jane Doe Deer
Lawyer
3864 Satisfied Customers
Atty. 27+ years; Plain English answers to family law, employment, landlord-tenant, & other questions