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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I signed up for unlimited and I have a question for you already.... I am sure I can find the answer in my pile of new books but my question has to do with something I feel I may have to do very soon so I wanted to ask you. Since I am no longer going to have an attorney, and will be representing myself, won't the length of time for Discovery be extended? Right now, the time frame for Discovery ends August 16th. Can't I file a motion to get extra time for Discovery and to prepare my case?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.

TexLawyer :

I'm actually about to step out. Can I get with you this evening?

TexLawyer :

If so, what time works best for you?

Customer:

Absolutely. Anytime, I will be here all night...

TexLawyer :

Hi. Sorry to keep you waiting.

TexLawyer :

The botXXXXX XXXXXne up front is this: yes, you can file a motion to extend time for discovery. In fact, it is a very common practice and most attorneys agree to one or two extensions as a matter of course. Keep in mind that an attorney is not required to agree to an extension, but it is commonly done, at least in my experience and with the attorney's I've practiced with. Granted, there are a few "difficult" attorneys out there, but most are reasonable.

TexLawyer :

If you need a "go-by" motion, you can use this one:

TexLawyer :

Obviously, you would have to adapt it to your facts, but that's a good general template.

TexLawyer :

But, before you file your motion, you should check with the plaintiff's attorney to see if he will agree to it. Even if he does, you still have to file a motion for extension, but you can call it "Defendant's Agreed Motion for Extension of Discovery Deadlines." Judges are much more likely to grant an agreed motion, since there is no controversy.

Customer:

So this is something that I would do right after I opt out of a settlement for the mediation next week?

TexLawyer :

You can do it any time, but, yes, it would make sense to do it when it becomes clear that you are going to trial, as opposed to settling the case.

Customer:

This Plaintiff's Attorney is a giant you know what and loves his reputation as such. Our current attorney has to battle him for everything and he

Customer:

often says no.

TexLawyer :

Well, then you may have to file a contested motin.

TexLawyer :

motion.

Customer:

The Plaintiff has 2 decades of experience working in the city where the trial will be as a forensic nurse subject matter expert. She is also deep into law enforcement cronyism and is in bed with the media. We have already been subjected to an absolute ridiculous PPO that caused us to hire an attorney and fly back to Michigan for a termination hearing. The Judge who signed the PPO recused himself because "He knew the Plaintiff and her husband from social circles and annual fundraising parties"... we have also had much difficulty with her friends in law enforcement who were supposed to be investigating her brother for crimes against our daughter. Should I enter a motion for a change of venue because of this?

Customer:

The PPO was dismissed within five minutes of the beginning of the hearing. We didn't even get to speak.

TexLawyer :

You can only get a change of venue if you can show that you cannot get a fair jury in your county. That is generally due to a large amount of publicity. Getting a change of venue is very difficult and rarely granted.

Customer:

In the police report, there are entries where the detectives investigating her brother were contacting her and in one entry named her as "providing background on the investigation." We have lost faith....

TexLawyer :

I don't blame you for being frustrated.

Customer:

I just feel that the fact that she knows all of the judges and court personal puts us at an extreme disadvantage.

Customer:

I believe that the PPO fiasco was abuse of the system and we cannot believe we have no recourse for that.

TexLawyer :

It may, but at this point you don't have any evidence that it will. Evidence is the key, and at this point, all you have are "gut feelings," which may be right, but not enough to get a judge recused.

Customer:

Anyway, I will ask the Plaintiff's nasty lawyer if he will agree to me requesting an extension.

Customer:

What is a legitimate amount of time to request based on the circumstances?

TexLawyer :

It all depends on how much time you need. That said, 30 or 60 days is a fairly common increment.

Customer:

Okay, thanks. I need as much time as I can get. I don't live in Michigan anymore, I live in North Carolina and have to fly back and forth. Thank you. You have answered my questions and have been very helpful. I really think I am done for the night now :)

Customer:

I hope you have a good evening.

TexLawyer :

You have a good evening as well.

TexLawyer :

If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer (that's how I get credit whenever I answer a question).

TexLawyer :

Can I do anything else for you?

Customer:

Wow....this page into some weird loading problem and just came back up. Nope. All set for now. Thanks!

Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Chris T., JD and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
I was having technical difficulties, so I switched to a Q&A format. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. If not, please remember to "rate" my answer (that's how I get credit for my answers).
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Chris T., JD and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
I understand. The chat sometimes has issues.
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Chris T., JD and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
Can I do anything else for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello TexLawyer,


 


Mediation is tomorrow and my husband is telling me that if our insurance comes up with a number that the Plaintiff likes, that it is out of our hands whether or not to settle and that our insurance company can force settlement. I do not believe this is true. My understanding is that the insurance company and Plaintiff can agree at mediation but if I do not want to settle, it is up to me. Is this true or is my husband correct?

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
The insurance company cannot require that you settle a claim. Depending on how your insurance policy is written, refusal may leave you personally on the hook for the judgment. Again, those details are driven by your specific insurance company and your insurance policy. You can review your policy to see what it says about settlement and your insurance company's obligations if you refuse to cooperate with settlement. As I previously suggested, you may find that you'll find that your obstructing the settlement would be a breach of contract allowing your insurance company to step out of the case and leave it to you to defend yourself.
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Chris T., JD and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Our insurance company has said that they will not move forward with us past settlement anyway. My feeling is that I need to put the pressure on the people who are suing us by countersuing. All throughout the report that we have from when her employer's attorney was investigating our allegations, are defamatory statements about us by the Plaintiff. Also, her employee interviewed a Prosecuting Attorney and two detective from the case our daughter was involved with, and all three of them gave information that was directly contradictory to the Police Report. The lead detective made defamatory statements towards us as well. So, if we sue them for Defamation, can we also sue them for abusing the system (PPO and Defamation suit - both bogus) in order to get back at us for reporting the Plaintiffs brother to the police? Is there such a thing as abuse of the system and making false statements and false reports to the police in order to harm us? Or is this all just defamation? Is it vexatious litigation?

 

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you. I've been away from my computer most of the day.

To answer your question, what's said in pleadings filed with the court and what is said in court itself cannot form the basis of a defamation claim. Litigants in a lawsuit have immunity from defamation, at least as it relates to what's said during the litigation itself. Of course, that does not apply to what they say outside the legal process. Regarding the communication between the lawyer and the employer, that is a communication that is protected by the attorney client privilege. However, if you were given a copy of that communication, then the attorney client confidentiality is lost, and you can use that as a basis to sue for defamation.

As far as the people who gave differing statements to the police detective, obviously one of the two statements they gave is true and one is false. As such, they would either be guilty of making a false statement to a police officer (a crime) or would be liable for defamation. Basically, if you have two differing statements, you have them in a really tough spot. If you countersue them, you will have the right to depose them and flesh out which statement is true. When it comes to a countersuit, keep in mind that the countersuit must be related to the original suit. I'm assuming the defamation you intend to countersue for is related, but I just wanted to make you aware of that.

As far as vexatious litigation, it is not itself a cause of action, but it is way to recover attorney's fees. If a judge makes a finding that the litigation was undertaken in bad faith, then the judge can award the party to pay attorney's fees for the other side. Obviously, since you aren't a lawyer, you can't ask for attorney's fees, but you could potentially ask for punitive damages based on that same theory. For more info on this, see this link: http://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/frivolous-litigation-in-pennsylvania-recovery-of-counsel-fees.html

So, at the end of the day, you would still have to countersue for defamation, but those other issues you brought up (vexatious litigation, false report, etc. ) still potentially play a role.
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3749
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
Chris T., JD and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay. Yesterday was the day of our court ordered mediation. My soon to be ex-husband led me to believe that he was on the same page as I but changed once the mediation began. Every person in that room had a vested interest in settling and I tried to explain this to my husband to no avail. He worked with the negotiation over my objections and flat out stating that I disagree. Every time my husband would throw an amount out, I would object and then our attorney would give the mediator my husband's number. Halfway through this routine is was completely evident that I was being trumped so I left the mediation, went out to the car, and cried like a baby. At the end, our attorney came out to the car and told me that my husband had negotiated them down to 53,200.00, gave them a written apology, and signed a settlement paper stating that we admit we intentionally harmed the Plaintiffs. I told our attorney that I would not sign it. She told me I had to. I asked why and she told me because my husband signed it. I then asked, so, you are telling me that if my husband signs this legal document, this means that I have no choice but sign? Our attorney said, yes, you have to sign this. I lined out the part that stated that we admit to intentionally harming the plaintiff's, signed the paper and began to bawl my eyes out. I told my husband that we essentially paid the attorney fees for the people who have a crap case against us and who condoned and covered up the gang rape of our emotionally ill daughter through the use of alcohol and Xanax, by their son and his two friends while our daughter and he were dating and then, put in their attorney's mediation summary that our daughter "videotaped herself have sex with two other boys." As you can imagine I am devastated. I just got off the phone with my stepfather who told me that it was not true that I HAD to sign that settlement paper. Is this true, and, if so, can I revoke it?

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.

No, you did not have to sign it. Like we discussed earlier, there may be ramifications regarding your insurance policy and what they will and won't cover, but that does not legally require you to admit liability to something you did not do. You and your husband are separate people. It may have been in his best interest to sign, or at least he may have felt so, but that does not make it in your best interest.

As far as getting this unwound, that may be a little more difficult. You would have to file a motion in court asking the judge to allow you to withdraw from your agreement. One of the reasons a person may be allowed to withdraw from a signed agreement is if their signing it was not voluntary. In this case, your best argument would be that the attorney misrepresented the law and your legal obligations and, in erroneously trusting him, your consent to the agreement was not "voluntary" in the legal sense.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello.... here is an email that I sent to my attorney's "boss" cc my attorney when my stepfather said that I did not have to sign that document:


 


"As you know, I was entirely against settling our case. In fact, the day before yesterday, my husband seemed to be onboard with the plan and on my side. With financial backing of my parents, I planned to sue the Skornias based on information I found when comparing the MSP Police Report with the CAN Council Report. Contained in those two documents were evidence of defamation and libel, falsifying records, misconduct, and false statements made to the CAN Council by Ms. Schultz, Detective Rivard, and Detective Robinson which were in direct contradiction to what was contained in the Police Report and what had been told to us by these people throughout the course of the two Bruce Baumann cases. I wanted to sue them to force them to drop our case in order to preserve their funds to defend themselves against us. In fact, I wanted to counter sue in the very beginning and you advised us not to because it would make us look bad to a jury and hurt our case. I still wanted to counter sue but my husband did not agree.

In light of comparing the documents that I do have, I know we have a case against Bonnie Skornia, Ogemaw County (Prosecutor Schultz), and MSP (Detectives Rivard and Robinson). |

During the mediation, my soon to be ex-husband trumped me and he and Jacklyn denied me my refusal to offer the numbers my husband was offering, those numbers were given to the mediator, and together my husband and Jacklyn pushed through towards the ultimate settlement. I left halfway through the mediation because it was too troubling to sit through it watching as this mediation, where I was listed as one of the defendants on the case being facilitated, was pushed to settlement against my wishes.

Once the settlement was reached, Jacklyn came out to her car where I was sitting and handed me the settlement papers and a pen. I read the papers and told her I was not signing the document. Jacklyn stated to me that I had to sign it. I asked her why and she told me that I had to sign it because Frank signed it. I asked her to clarify if she was telling me that because my husband signed this legal document, I have no choice but to sign. Jacklyn told me yes, I had to sign, so I crossed out the statement that said we admit to intentionally harming the Plaintiff and sign it under duress and against my will.

Today, I am being told that I did NOT, in fact, have to sign that document. If this is case, and I am not legally required to sign the Skornia vs. Ferritto Settlement document dated June 18, 2013, I hereby revoke my signature as my right not to have to sign a settlement paper, with me listed as a Defendant, against my will having been told I had no choice.

Let this email serve as documentation to this fact.

Sincerely,

Janet Leslie Ferritto"

So, you are saying that this will not suffice? How do I approach a judge with this? What do I have to do?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.
Legally, they are not required to accept this as withdrawal from the agreement. Once you signed it, you are legally bound by it, absent a consensual withdrawal or a judge finding that the signature was not valid for any number of reasons (most pertinent to you, of course, is your lack of willful consent because you were misled by your attorney and duress). So, my suggestion would first be to see how they react to your email. If they allow you withdraw from the agreement by consent, then you don't need to do anything further. If they won't, then you will have to file a motion with the judge asking to allow you to withdraw from your agreement and to set your case for trial. I'm very curious to see how they respond.

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