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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I have 2 legal questions: I have a hearing next month

Customer Question

Hello, I have 2 legal questions: I have a hearing next month and a copy of a letter that is fairly important to my case. I have asked my attorney to assist in having the person who drafted it appear as a witness (via subpoena). The letter is actually damaging
to opposing counsel/party. My attorney has ignored all my requests. What is my recourse? Is she not obligated to support my case (at the very least explain her resistance)? It is almost as if she is more concerned about opposing counsel than she is about her
client. If opposing counsel denies the letter (copy was sent to him by a prior judge) then I believe the letter is not much of evidence. That is why I am wanting to have the drafter (the judge’s assistant) there to acknowledge it. Time to the hearing is limited,
and I have already paid a significant retainer fee. Getting it back is likely to be a hassle. Right now, it perplexes me why my hired attorney will not even respond to me about my request (multiple ones). Also, if there is fraud in a family law case (assuming
can be proven), can a separate tort lawsuit be filed, outside the family law case itself (the latter already concluded)? There has been ample evidence of fraud and would rather have a jury hear the case, specific to the fraud.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer,Your attorney does have a duty to communicate with you. This duty should include an obligation to respond to your inquiries. While there is no rule that they must respond to every question in detail, it appears your attorney has not been answering your questions very well, otherwise you wouldn't have to ask multiple times.Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.4(b) "Duty to Explain Matters to Client. A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation."Regarding your specific issue, if you are asking your attorney to subpoena a judge's assistant, your attorney isn't going to do this for you. A judge is not going to compel a judge's assistant to appear in your hearing to testify regarding the authenticity of a letter they wrote as part of the same proceeding. If the letter was written as part of the court case, your attorney is going to have the court take "judicial notice" of the letter as part of the court's record. As to the question of suing over fraud due to misrepresentations in the course of litigation. Misstatements or fraudulent representations in a court case cannot form the basis for a subsequent court case (there are public policy grounds for this - courts have deemed that there must be a "finality" to litigation, there is a "litigation privilege," and there are remedies for misrepresentations in the instant case (discovery sanctions, termination sanctions, monetary sanctions) that can be levied against the untruthful party, so that the injured party is not without recourse). So you cannot sue for fraud based on misrepresentations in a family law action.