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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89359
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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After a long legal battle we discovered that the lawyer who

Customer Question

After a long legal battle we discovered that the lawyer who sued us was our former attorney 14 years prior. He aged lost his hair, grow a white beard AND CHANGED HIS LAST NAME FROM WHEN HE REPRESENTED US. We were with his former firm for 23 years of which he worked for our former firm for 4 years.

Upon us finding old files we filed where he states he represented us we filed a Motion to Vacate a Judgment based upon this “Conflict of Interest”. The Judge who heard the original case reviewed our motion and by simply granting the attorney’s objection denied our motion to open in a “One Word” decision. We appealed and the appellate court did the same thing by granting the attorney’s objection. We filed for certification and the State Supreme Court dismissed our certification. The State Courts issued 3 - “One Word’ decisions allowing a former attorney to sue his clients, with no transcript, no case law established.

What can we do next?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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What was the underlying case that he sued you about?
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Did he directly represent you or was it his firm that represented you?
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When was the last time he had actually directly represented you?
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Was the case where he sued you related to his representation of you previously or was it on a different matter?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, The case was a real estate deal he sued us for, and a contract collection case.


He not only represented me corporately but indiviually as well. My wife was a legal secretary for that firm for 7 years. We did 85 real estate transactions with his former firm and while he was employed there for 4 yeras we did over 6 million dollars in transcation with his firm.


 


He represnet me in a case in 1991 and he left the firm in 1994.


 


It was a different matter.


 


He never revealed his alias nor did he request a signed written consent waiver.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, so please don't shoot the messenger.... But there is nothing that would prohibit an attorney from suing a former client on a completely different matter or even the same matter that they represented a client on. Attorneys regularly sue clients for failing to pay their fees during the course of their representation.
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That is whey you are getting the one word decisions. This has been clearly established in the law that a former client does not obtain some type of "immunity" from being sued by a former firm or attorney either in old matters or new ones. They are prohibited from using information disclosed by client A to represent client B against client A, but as for suing them in a different matter, there is no restriction.
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At this point, although you could incur the expense of filing an appeal to the US Supreme Court, but I am afraid that the outcome would be the same and you would simply be incurring a unnecessary expense to reach the same result.
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I know this is not the news you had hoped for, but my professional opinion is that any further pursuit of this would not be a good investment of your time and money.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


The CT general Satutes stste Rule 1.9 (a) (b) that no lawyer can sue a former client withiout a signed consent form.


 


No lawyer can sue a former client of a firm that that lawyer may have worked for.


 


How can anyone get around the Ct practice BOOK?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I think that you may be interpreting that Rule of Professional Conduct incorrectly. That rule prevents an attorney from representing another party in the same or substantially related matter that is adverse to the former client's interests without consent.
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You stated that this was a different matter so the rules regarding "subtantially related" matters would not apply and there would not be any requirement for the former client to consent in writing to being sued by the attorney. If that were the case, then obviously no former client would ever agree to be sued.
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Rule 1.9 Duties to Former Clients

(a) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person's interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

(b) A lawyer shall not knowingly represent a person in the same or a substantially related matter in which a firm with which the lawyer formerly was associated had previously represented a client

(1) whose interests are materially adverse to that person; and

(2) about whom the lawyer had acquired information protected by Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c) that is material to the matter: unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

(c) A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter or whose present or former firm has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter:

(1) use information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client, or when the information has become generally known; or

(2) reveal information relating to the representation except as these Rules would permit or require with respect to a client.

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As I mentioned, the restriction on using the client's confidential information that was disclosed in the prior representation still remains. So while most firms will not represent a new client in suing a former client, that is more a matter of good business practices and not due to a fixed rule that would prevent them from doing so. So if the matters are unrelated, there is no restriction on suing a former client.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Please read a Just answer reply sent to me april 2012 by your company

 

And where does it become necessary for an attorney to obtain a signed written consent form?

 

Thank you

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I am not sure I understand your comment. I am not an employee of Justanswer so I wouldn't have access to any communications they sent you.
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The attorney would have to get consent only if it was a related matter and the former clients interests were adverse to the new client's.
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Thanks.
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


In April 2012 Just Ask stated a contradiction to me as to the meaning of rule 1.9.


 


Both cases where in the construction industry and both were contract law. And even if he simply was employed by our former firm while that firm represented us he could not take the case without a signed written consent form, is the way I would read it.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I looked at your previous question to another expert and s/he stated:
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"You would need to prove that the lawyer's having previously represented you gave him special knowledge that would not have been discoverable during the course of the proceedings AND that special knowledge materially affected the case.
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If there has been no prejudice of this nature and the lawyer's representation in no way affected your defense, and the entire purpose of having the Attorney removed was for you to simply delay the case or make it more expensive for the other party to litigate (in hopes of dragging the case out) then you'll be hard-pressed to have a court vacate a judgement. "
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So there would still have to be a direct relation between the 2nd case and the 1st case other than they were both in the construction industry. For example if the firm represented you against someone in the first case and then that person wanted to hire the firm to represent them in suing you based on some later claim that arose, that would be a conflict that would have to be disclosed and we waived in writing. So the previous expert and I are in agreement with the application of Rule 1.9.
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When you are talking about years and years later, unless the attorney was in possession of some sort of confidential information that could be used in the second case, I would opine that Rule 1.9 wouldn't apply. It is bad business to sue former clients, but it is not a breach of the law to do so.
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Unfortunately as you have experienced with your appeals, the courts apparently agreed that there was no material conflict that would justify overturning the ruling in the cases.
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You can try and file an appeal to the US Supreme Court, but you are talking about considerable legal expense (i.e. $25K or more) and I would opine that they would refuse to hear the case or affirm it if they did hear it.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


Where we feel the confidential information comes from is that my wife and I have been very successful “in the past”. We started our business and real estate buying in 1970. We became major clients of the prior law firm we were with. This lawyer was the first cousin of the principal of that firm, until he got fired…….So he knew first hand as to our successes.


The principal of that firm appointed me to a Bank advisory board of HIS BANK while this lawyer was at the firm. I would think that the attorney, who sued us, sued us because he knew of our wealth starting in 1971 and thought that he could extort a payment rather than have to try the case.


 


This lawyer had a one man office, him, and his practice was failing at the time he took the case. In the middle of this case he was evicted from his office for lack of rent money. He has since folded his practice. He sued us from desperation.


When we discovered he was our former attorney and was confronted by our motion to open the judgment, he called our attorney and attempted to get him to lie for him by saying that this issue was raised years before and was settled at that time. Of course our attorney wanted no part of that and wrote to us stating so. If the lawyer thought he wasn’t doing anything wrong why would he have done that?


 


You should also know that one of the Appellate judges, who ruled in a previous appeal, in this same case, recused himself from the panel when we raised this issue of a conflict of interest. We would like to think the Appellate Judge disagreed with the other two judges and wanted no part of their decision to rule in favor of the attorney.


 


Idea: Rather than waste time in the Supreme Court, what do you think of suing the plaintiff and the attorney for the conflict of interest as an entire new case? I am sure he will use the findings of the courts in this case to his advantage and move to a summary judgment, but maybe a new set of eyes may cause the new suit to grow legs, what do you think of this approach. This jerk sued 3 LLCs and my wife as well. He lost on all counts as to my wife but she owned all the LLCs he tied up. She has lost over $9,385,000 because of this lawsuit and was sued by her former attorney.


 


PS: This lawyer I am corresponding with you about is a disgrace to your profession.


 


 


 

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
It does sound like the attorney was at the very least in the grey area of ethics and I would agree that in all professions there are people working there that operate on the fringes.
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But from a purely legal perspective, apparently the courts thought that his case had enough merit so as to override any ethical concerns that they may have had.
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As for filing a new suit, I don't know that conflict of interest would be a sustainable claim. You might be able to file a breach of contact action and argue that he he owed you a duty based on his prior representation of you and that he breached that duty by suing you. But as you correctly point out, the attorney, although morally and ethically questionable, will likely be smart enough to file a motion for summary judgment based on the idea that this matter is "res judicata" or "a matter already settled".
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It doesn't cost the attorney anything but his time to defend if you were to sue him, but it would force you to pay even more attorney fees to pursue this. As someone who is very frugal, I can't recommend spending even more money on something that stands a very small probability of success. I am reminded of something my grandfather once told me..."when you get in a fight, know when you are licked". Although I would agree with you that this appears to be a case where justice has not been served, I think that any further pursuit of this would be a situation of thowing good money after bad.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


this case is even more compliacted beacause they found a judgment against me for $640,000 but allowed liens on my wifes' property but she was found to have no obligation to the plaintiff. ????? yes


How about a removal to the US District Court based unpon an unlawful action and whatever else can be created?


 

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
but allowed liens on my wifes' property but she was found to have no obligation to the plaintiff.
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Not sure how they could do this unless your name is XXXXX XXXXX deed to the property or she was made a party to the lawsuit as a defendant.
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How about a removal to the US District Court based unpon an unlawful action and whatever else can be created?

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If the decision has already been handed down by the State Supreme Court, the only way to appeal it further would be to the US Supreme Court. But even then, they only review the previous case for legal errors, not hear the case all over again. And they only hear cases that present substantial "federal questions", usually where a constitutional right has been denied in the state courts.

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Thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


My Wife' LLCs: I had no ownership of any LLCs, I was the manger. My wife was the member. The court said I was the alter ego of the LLCs - “that I did not own.”


When the Superior Court ruled that my wife had no obligation to the plaintiff, they appealed and the Appellate Court upheld the lower court, he then applied for Certification and the State Supreme Court upheld that she had no obligation.


 


BUT, they allowed a $640,000 judgment lien on property owned by my wife's LLC. I have been arguing about this decision being unlawful and a flaw. How can a judgment be secured by an innocent person's property?


 


 


The US District Court should hear this, especially before she losses these properties but to remove the case, its too old, should it be on a questions to the Federal Court. Is 28 USC section 1331 the correct rule it falls under?


 


(Recently the Judge who came up with this decision heard that my wife was going to loss her properties and it was because of the lien and the entanglement in a lawsuit that he found her to have no obligation in. You should have seen his face when heard the facts, due to his error. He wants to have a hearing involving the foreclosures on these properties and I am thinking this would be the perfect way to open the door to a correction, but don’t know the most effective way.)

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
It sounds like they "pierced the corporate veil" and decided that you were essentially an owner of the properties along with wife so as to subject them to the lien.
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Is 28 USC section 1331 the correct rule it falls under?
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That woudl be the correct Code if there is a Constitutional question or law of the US that you can pin the action to.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


Thank you for this continued conversation. I don’t have to tell you that this ordeal has financially destroyed us.


 


I just found out this weekend that the Superior court switched one of our foreclosures from a sale to strict after the Appellate Court handed down a decision that the property had to be a foreclosure by sale. Is this contestable? and is it a true violation?


 


All of these nightmares stem from the one case of my wife’s properties being attached. When we remove the main case to US District Court for the unlawful court decision can we stop the foreclosures as well through removals of those cases until the US District Court deicide in the this case we are bringing to them.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Different expert here, as your previous expert had to opt out and leave. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you have already lost up through the State Supreme Court, I am afraid that your sole remaining recourse is to allege a federal law or US Constitutional violation in your case in order to file an appeal of the State Supreme Court denial to the federal courts for review. If you cannot come up with a federal law or constitutional violation, the State Supreme Court decision I am afraid is final.

If you have a federal question that permits removal to the federal courts or appeal to the federal courts, you will have to file for a state of enforcement of the state court decision pending the adjudication in the federal courts to stop the foreclosure from being carried forward and to do that you would have to prove that you have a likelihood of success on the merits of your claim in the federal court.



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


It is apparent we need an attorney but because of this mess dropped on us we can not afford one. We have been preceding pro se and although we have managed to delay the matters for some time it seems no matter what we confront the courts with, they will not allow pro se defendants to succeed. We are not trying to delay we are trying to get a fair shot here.


I read your last paragraph and understand it, but it is our opinion no court handling these matters is going to grant relief until the Federal Court decides the questions.


 


I raised USC 1331 before and if we filed a removal of the cases based upon questions, is there a way to word that removal based upon the merits of the question to stop the foreclosures through a Stay?


And if the US District Cout denys the removal of all the cases remain entanggled in appeals, eventually getting to the Supreme Court and being stayed that way?


Finally, it seems you are the Federal Court expert. Is there a way that we can request you to get our questions answered, or can we make arrangements to hire you as we need question answered?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

The first thing you still have to do upon filing your federal question appeal to the federal courts is file a motion for stay in the state courts. If the state court denies the motion for stay, then you can ask the federal court to stay the state decision pending a ruling on your case in federal court. You have to show the court in either case that your federal case has "a likelihood of success upon the merits," which does not mean you are guaranteed to win but that there is at least a reasonable chance based on the law and your facts that you would receive a favorable decision.

If the US District Court denies your case, you can appeal only that denial to the US District Court of Appeals or the US Supreme Court, but unfortunately, once one court denies something the chances of another court overturning that decision really are slim. As far as the US Supreme Court, they hear very few cases and reject most of the state court appeals that make it to them unless they contain a constitutional issue they need to address.


You can indeed request me by just putting in the heading of your question, "For PaulMJD..." and I will get to you ASAP.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


Recently I filed a removal to US District Court it requested a consolidation of cases, a stay, removal, and questions. I think the court spent an hour on it and denied the all requests and specifically listed them as I made them, shown above.


 


I filed an appeal in the 2nd District Court and I would think that our appeal covers the consolidation, the stay, removal and questions. Is that correct that all these issues are now part of the one appeal?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
If you filed an appeal of the denial of consolidation, then your appeal covers everything you asked the court to do in your appeal, including the consolidation, if they denied your request.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I want to thank you and Barrister (please tell him) so much for all your help. We pray that along the line one judge reads our request and sees the injustice.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your gratitude. Please do not forget leaving excellent service feedback as that is the only way experts get credit for time spent with customers.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89359
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Law Educator, Esq. and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Today i am told that the plaintiff is moving forward to set a new sale date in this foreclousre even though i filed an appeal on May 24, 2013.


Is there a stay on this Federal Appeal appeal at the 2nd District Court preventing the State court from proceeding? or Is it up to the State Judge to decide? I see many different articles it is very confusing.


 


 

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response and update.

There is a stay at both the state level, which is where you file first asking for a stay pending your federal appeal and if denied you file a stay at the federal court asking for the stay pending the appeal. This is a two step process.

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