I have a property damage case in which a major chain gas station was blasting in 2009 next door to an office building I own-- they were installing gas tanks. I built the building in 2002 and in the next couple of years found out it was built on poorly compacted soil. It had shifted some in the back, and estimates to repair the foundation in 2004 were $26,000. The building remained stable with no further shifting until 2009 during the blasting. The gas station never contacted me (the owner) even though my building is 275 feet from their gas station, and rules in our state say blasters have to notify owners of buildings within 300 feet of blasting before blasting.If notified, I would have asked them to let me brace my building first!My building suffered much damage during blasting (verified by employee testimony as well as this gas station's pre-blast survey(which took me 3 years to get them to turn that over to me)which stated "no damage present in front four rooms." The front four rooms are rooms anyone from the public can walk in and view, the gas station looked at no other rooms in this 7500 sq ft building, but there was major damage in the front four rooms after blasting, and throughout the interior of the rest of the building, as well as the exerior of the building and the front carport. Damage repair estimates after the blasting were $146,000 from the same company, and that's just foundation, not counting the interior repairs needed to repair all the cracking of floors and drywall and crooked doors. Repairs are just now getting finished and have cost me $190,000 in addition to lost lease income and legal fees incurred by this.My problem is this: my lawyer couldn't take the case in 2009 as he said his firm already had this gas station for a client, so I was handed off to another lawyer-- for the sake of ease, I'll call him "Sam." Sam has been unbelievable-- in a bad way. He would not copy my evidence and turn it over to the other side, and despite me bringing it to my deposition and offering it to the other lawyer myself (opposing counsel said he would copy it but he did not) and despite me asking more times, Sam would not turn over my evidence, nor would he procure the evidence I requested from the gas station's lawyer. Sam never found out blasting regulations and codes for my state (despite me asking him multiple times) I had to call and get them myself. Sam had told me that we might be able to win this case without an expert witness, and when told what an expert witness would cost, I asked him if we could show them pictures of the damage and with employee testimonies of what it was before & after, could we win? He said we might, so because I could not afford to pay for the expert witness, I chose not to get one. (I have since found out that this is malpractice in the law world, that you cannot win a case like this without an expert witness-- something he NEVER told me! ) For depositions he showed up with only himself, none of the paperwork/evidence/supporting documents, etc. that I had given him, and opposing counsel kept asking me questions during my deposition, and I would say "that's on this that we turned over to you"-- but Sam had never turned it over to him. He just kept saying "I thought I sent that to you, but I'll get it to you." (But he never did). Sam left me in the middle of my 4 1/2 hour deposition with no paralegal or anything, just me, the opposing lawyer and the court reporter, for at least an hour and a half, then returned for the last hour or so. He didn't bring back any of the evidence I had already given him even then, despite just talking about it with opposing counsel. For depositions after that, I started gathering rules, codes, etc. and giving those to him, typed out questions for him to ask the witnesses, and that's what he asked them. I began trying to find another attorney, and the day all our evidence was due, I personally drove 6 hours to his office (I live two states away) to meet with him to MAKE SURE all my evidence was copied to turn over,(again!)and to also make sure that evidence was procured from the gas station, but he did not even show up for that meeting, as he said he would, I had to meet with his paralegal. This story goes on & on, but the end result is this: he NEVER got the evidence I need from the other side to properly prepare my case, and neither he nor the opposing counsel will confirm if the evidence I gave his paralegal to turn over actually got turned over. I petitioned the judge for the right to be allowed to have an expert witness, and to be allowed to extend the deadlines for turning over evidence and procuring evidence, but have been denied. Multiple lawyers have said they will only take this case if these things can be granted. I need legal advice, I have no idea what to do? Isn't this gas station legally required to turn over evidence?Don't I have a right to turn over evidence? I need legal advice as the judge dismissed Sam?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): West Virginia
mentioned in letter
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Yes, I am waiting, I'm in a big "pickle" and would love some advice, thanks! :0)
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Relist: Inaccurate answer.It seems my question has gotten lost and not sent to an expert, it was only answered by a moderator half a day after I posted it, now another whole day has passed but I still have not gotten any answer at all? I really need advice on how to get some advice from a lawyer? I am stuck handling this myself and have a hearing on Monday.
First, let me apologize for the delay you experienced, we do not why we have technical issues where some questions seem to not appear on the list. Second, all I can say is WOW, your story above is one of the worst cases I have heard about in a long time.If the attorney did what you say, it is indeed malpractice and you have to file a suit and complaint with the state bar within 2 years of when his conduct caused you injury. This is the first thing you should do.Second, you are going to have to seek to file your motion to reconsider the extensions based upon the malpractice of your attorney and you will have to demonstrate that you were extremely prejudiced by this malpractice despite your best efforts. The problem you are in is a catch-22 though, with all of the attorneys refusing to step in to help you obtain the extensions and it may be that instead of looking for an attorney to take over the case, you will need to find one to only fight the motions in court based on the malpractice to obtain an extension (filing your malpractice suit and bar complaint may also help you with this in the eyes of the court). Filing a motion to reconsider the denial of your extensions of time based on improper actions of counsel is really your only recourse here and you will need to get an attorney to assist you on this. If you fail to get this done and you end up losing your suit and cannot get it reversed on appeal, then you would seek those damages in your malpractice claim against your former attorney.
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THANK YOU!!!!! Is reviewing letters for me to submit to the judge something that falls under what you can do?
No, I am afraid not, since that can be considered representation which is prohibited. Also, sending letters to the judge is not how to address issues, since you cannot have ex parte communication with the judge, everything must be filed as motions in the court with an attached memorandum in support of the motion citing evidence and case law to support your arguments and the other side must be served a copy of everything that is filed. The case law research is expensive for access to the databases, so that is outside the scope of this service, but you can access those databases for free and do your own case research by going to the local court library where you are located (doesn't have to be in WV, it can be whatever state you are in and you can access WV case law on westlaw or lexis).
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX have been VERY helpful, indeed.
Thank you very much.
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