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Seattle Scott
Seattle Scott, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 961
Experience:  I have 25 years experience as a Washington State Family Law Attorney.
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My question is whether or not I can file a Motion to Vacate

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My question is whether or not I can file a Motion to Vacate based on the attorneys on both sides committing fraud upon court? My case is complex. It's regarding my divorce trial and I'll hit the high points. Prior to entering the courtroom and the start of the trial my attorney told me he and my ex-wife's attorney would meet mid-day with the judge to see how he was leaning regarding maintenance. The first half of the trial involved my ex-wife lying under oath and her attorney presenting multiple lies about me while my attorney sat silent. The attorneys then met with judge and after the meeting my attorney told me the judge was leaning towards awarding 50-60% of my gross as permanent maintenance. Adding 30% for taxes that did not leave me much to support my son, who I had custody of; myself; and pay my sons’ education expenses. My attorneys told me I could proceed with the trial and risk the judge awarding 50-60%, which I could appeal, but the appeal process was long and I risked having to pay attorney costs for both sides. Or, I could negotiate a settlement and not go through with the trial. My attorney sat silent as I negotiated a settlement that provided 37.5% of my gross as maintenance +35% of gross of my bonus. During the recitation of the judgment by ex-wife’s attorney he threw in 35% of gross on stock options and that I had to start paying maintenance 4 days later and pay all martial home expenses. Again my attorney sat silent. This left with a negative $1000/month cash flow walking out of the courtroom.

Two weeks later, after regaining some strength I contacted another attorney who filed a motion to vacate. In the first hearing my ex-wife’s attorney admitted I was told the judge was going to award 50-60% of my gross as permanent maintenance. The judge later denied the motion to vacate and stated in the order he never said he was going award 50-60% of my gross. That judge has since been reassigned to a misdemeanor court and then reassigned from there for telling attorneys in writing that his sentencing strategies for blacks are based how they dress and their attitude.

I filed an appeal based on the judgment being unconscionable and obtained through duress and fraud based on attorneys telling me something the judge never said. The Appellee’s brief was struck because it violated Supreme Court rules. It contained multiple lies, which were not addressed because it was struck. The Appellate Court then recommended waiving oral arguments since they had enough information to make a decision. That was not contested since the Appellee’s brief was struck. The lower judgment was upheld, but the Appellate Court copied text directly from the stricken brief, the failed to mention the judge’s order stating he never said he would award 50-60% of my gross, they failed even acknowledge the financial devastation I was put in for 15 months until my house sold. They failed to acknowledge I had no money to support my dependent son and that I was responsible for education costs. We ate on credit. I borrowed then took out new loans to pay old ones. The Appellate Court said the fraud should have been addressed in the lower court.

Hence, my question can I file a Motion to Vacate based on the attorneys committing fraud upon the court which my understanding has no time limitation. It’s been close to two years since the trial.
I don't see the lawyers committing fraud on the trial court, which would be lying to the judge or presenting evidence they knew to be false. They either lied to you, or misrepresented or exaggerated to you what the judge was thinking he would do, or they were accurate and the judge did a turn around.

But I am going to check Illinois court rules regarding the timing/grounds to vacate just to confirm.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did not include that the divorce process started in Oct 2010. In February I learned my ex-wife obtained a referral for her first attorney from the wife of a partner in the firm I hired. I raised concerns with my attorney and he said there was no conflict. Many months after the trial I learned that in July 2011 my wife's friends got together to help her and she hired a new attorney. Those friends were also friends with her new attorney and the wife of the partner at the firm I hired.

I think that the facts are pretty thin on a conflict of interest claim. There is no conflict when your lawyer's partner's wife has mutual friends with your ex wife, so long as your ex wife and a partner's wife are not friends.

On the referral issue, I assume you learned of this before the trial, as in February 2011 - correct? I don't think this created a conflict, but if it did, you waived it regarding the proceedings after you discovered it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What I never expected was for my attorney to collaborate with her attorney and then to be told the judge was leaning towards awarding 50-60% of my gross pay when the judge never said that. Then to be financially devastated as a result. I'm not an attorney but that is wrong.

I think your efforts should be spent on the malpractice suit. The trial outcome was based on an agreement so when you appealed the denial of the motion to vacate, it was a "de novo" review, meaning the appellate court took a fresh look at the settlement facts, not the trial, evidence and made its own decision, without relying on or giving the judge's discretion any weight. I think you have exhausted your review rights. I think another motion to vacate would be met with the defense "res judicata" meaning it has already been decided - it will not be vacated. The fact that your trial attorney just sat silent for the first half day of trial, sounds like he wasn't prepared or had no/little trial experience, as in making objections or questioning witnesses and then basically advised you to take an unreasonable settlement. I will follow up with you tomorrow as needed. No you have a written opinion from an attorney supporting your malpractice claim - meaning have an expert witness set up to testify?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your response. My case is so corrupt and my civil rights have been violated. To have to sift through attorney lies and judges protecting them sicken me. There is so much I could share but I will fight in the courts here and do my best to protect my rights, the rights of my sons and hopefully protect anyone else from having to enduring the corruption of Illinois courts. Again thank you.

You are welcome and I hope you succeed.
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