My former business partner told my client that I "acted fraudulently" by intercepting the final payment due. I did so because I was worried that if she obtained the funds I would never get a dime of it. The entire transaction was due to my efforts and client relationship.
The attorney I found on-line asked me for $500 and he sent her a two paragraph email that had errors and to me did not look like an attorney wrote it. I could not believe it. I am not an attorney but could have done a better job. Dimitry, it was not worth $10 let alone $500!
Thank you for your follow-up, Cathy. I appreciate the details. Please permit me to respond to both separately and if you have any questions or need for me to clarify anything, I will be happy to do so. Just please be aware I will be evaluating based on state and federal laws so if the information is not always favorable to you, kindly do not blame the proverbial messenger.Having said that, first of all let me define what 'slander' is and what it isn't, as that may be fairly important. Slander is verbal defamation. Defamation has 4 factors that the plaintiff must prove to prevail:1. A defamatory (untrue) comment or statement2. Of or concerning the plaintiff3. Communicated to third parties AND4. Causes damages, specifically financial damages.Truth is the ultimate defense. Truth cannot be defamatory. Opinion, unless knowingly false, is also not generally defamatory. If the person believed that you acted fraudulently by intercepting the payment, it is not slander. And there is some evidence that her comment is not completely out of line under state and federal regulations. I am assuming that if you are making trades you are both NASD/FINRA licensed (I was myself in the past). You realize that you owe a fiduciary duty to the clients toward their money. If you were not authorized to intercept the payment then such an intercept could be construed as a breach of your fiduciary duty. You COULD do it if the client gave you written notice but otherwise intercepting the payments, even if being done for the right reasons, could be a violation and cold be considered fraudulent. I do not know as I was not there, I am simply showing you how the analysis would work. Furthermore if the other party was churning funds or trading without consent, it is a reportable offense which is where you should consider starting.As for the attorney situation, I myself have met a few who to this day surprise me as to how they passed their state Bar exam or how they are able to claim competency. At the same time, however, if a service was provided, even if that service was horrific, you are required to pay for it. Stopping the check would permit a competent attorney to claim check fraud and potentially pursue criminal charges. It would be wiser to contact the county bar association, file a grievance, and have them investigate, but technically speaking the attorney is still entitled to payment even for an unsatisfactory job unless in your agreement with him he make a 'satisfaction guaranteed' promise.Good luck.
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