Michael D. Terani (the principa) is hiding behind Audrey, (Tom) and a labyrinth of answering services. However, he is the one who is not giving the $4,500 back. Earlier just a day before the court date, Audrey promised that with-in 4,5 days I will get teh refund back. Then I contacted XXXXX XXXXX(Tom) - he told me 4-5 weeks. and now this refusal letter ...
To Sudip Roy
Dear Mr. Roy,
This letter is being written in response to your written refund request. We would like to
briefly inform you of our law firm’s basic fee schedule and how we operate. Our law firm charges standard fees of $8,500.00 or more for most felonies; $4,500.00 or more for most misdemeanors
; and $3,500.00 or more for most prefile criminal investigations and interventions.
The fees fluctuate depending on certain details such as the specific facts of the case that are presented to the law firm at the time of retention, the severity of the allegations and the client’s criminal history and background. Like most criminal defense law firms, this law firm does not charge hourly fees. Because this law firm charges flat fees, we do not readily keep records of the work performed on an hourly basis.
Section 2 of the Retainer Agreement "Refundable Retainer", which you read, initialed
and executed clearly outlines that the Retainer is freely negotiated and "based on the apparent facts and complexity of the matter at the time of retention." At the time of retention, we were informed that you were charged with misdemeanor second degree menacing and criminal mischief; therefore we charged a fee of $4,500.00 for your representation
as such. This Law Firm was hired to help reduce/minimize the charges if at all possible and to provide guidance and advice throughout the course of the criminal case.
Section 2 further states, "Client/Payor understands that a Retainer is a minimum
engagement fee paid to reserve a Law Firm's commitment to represent the Client, which is itself a thing of value, not a payment for hourly services. The retainer is earned by the Law Firm upon its receipt, and upon the Law Firm's commitment to accept representation of the Client."
By the express terms of this agreement, there is no entitlement to a refund. However, Section 2 does state that if the Client has “good cause” or “legitimate grounds” for a refund, the Law Firm would refund an amount of the paid retainer on a quantum meruit basis. Unfortunately, there are no legitimate grounds or good cause for receiving a refund.
At the time of retention you requested legal representation and legal help. Besides the
initial consultation, our law firm does not offer or provide any other free services. Since this matter was a “flat fee” matter, whether this Law Firm expended 10 hours or 100 hours the fees charged would not change. Upon retention, your attorney, Timothy Wedeen reviewed your file and researched the specific charges against you and looked up your case with the court’s database to confirm the charges and appearance dates. Attorney Wedeen spoke with you on multiple occasions regarding the status of your case and the criminal process. Attorney Wedeen also spoke with your family law attorney at length in order to ensure both parties were up to date regarding your case. After that conversation Attorney Wedeen conducted another review and analysis of your file with the new information that was attained. Thereafter, Attorney Wedeen spoke with your other criminal attorney
Mr. Kramer to strategize your defense further. Attorney
Wedeen and Attorney Kramer were both confident, in their professional opinions that a deferred dismissal was a very achievable outcome. Although we never guaranteed an outcome, a deferred dismissal would be considered a very successful result by any standard. Yet, you insisted on fighting the charges all the way. As was Attorney Wedeen’s duty, he informed you that in his professional opinion, taking the charges to trial was not a wise decision, although it is your right.
Attorney Wedeen wiped clear his entire morning schedule of June 13th in order to properly prepare and represent your defense in court. You terminated this law firm on the eve of that June 13th court date and as a result, wasted one half of Attorney Wedeen’s work day.
Based on the facts at hand, there are no legitimate grounds for a refund. You were never guaranteed an outcome or promised any specific result. Attorney Wedeen was confident that your case would be resolved in a very favorable fashion and this law firm was in constant communication with you. Perplexingly, it is usually the clients who are left with convictions on their records who request refunds and are dissatisfied, not those who were likely on the road to deferred dismissals. In this particular case, we strongly feel that we could have achieved a deferred dismissal (in Attorney Wedeen’s professional opinion), essentially leaving you free of the charges, as a direct result of this Law Firm’s representation.
In conclusion, after careful deliberation, we do not find any legitimate reason to refund any amount of the retainer fee. You received competent legal defense and excellent client service.
Our law firm was in constant contact with you, always returned all phone calls within 2 business days and kept you informed of your legal rights throughout this entire process. It is important to note that these specifics do not encompass all the work that was put into this matter in any way as we do not keep readily available record of the billable hours that were applied in defending any one client.
Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.
Michael D. Terani, Esq.
I paid them through my credit card. Can I call my credit card company to dispute the charges as I am being cheated out of this !!!!