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My ex boyfriend obtained an ex parte protective order

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against me. I was prepared...
My ex boyfriend obtained an ex parte protective order against me. I was prepared to defend myself vigorously against this as I knew his motive was to prevent me from contacting his employer regarding his unethical/fraudulent business practices. At the hearing, my attorney drafted a consent to no contact agreement which we both signed effectively dismissing the TPO. The no contact agreement stated that any violation of the agreement must be brought as a contempt motion in Superior Court.I foolishly contacted him in a moment of weakness in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues. He threatened that if I didn't extend the no contact agreement for 25 years that he would be in court the next day to take action against me for contacting him. He went and filed for another TPO. My attorney told me all along that it would be dismissed on the basis of Res Jurdicata. He was adamant and never advised me about the possibility of a hearing.The judge did not dismiss the TPO agreeing with my ex's attorney that the stipulation in the no contact agreement was not the "sole or exclusive remedy" and allowed a hearing. My attorney was not prepared for a hearing and had absolutely not one shred of evidence to defend against the opposing side's claims. All of what was presented could have been easily refuted had my attorney prepared any semblance of a defense. He literally just sat there for hours while the opposing attorney went over every single text message I sent completely out of context and not remotely threatening.The Judge offered my attorney a continuence where we could have come back better prepared yet my attorney refused. I am still in disbelieve. I've been told different things by different attorneys and don't know what to believe regarding appealling the decision.I have this on my record now and it is showing up in Google searches already. This all happened over two weeks ago and time is running out if I am to appeal.
Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Also, I was told be an attorney that he felt confident this could be "set aside". Not sure about that.
Answered in 3 hours by:
9/10/2017
Family Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
FamilyAttorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,552
Experience: Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 38 years
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Hello and thanks for using Just Answer. I’m a licensed attorney with 37 years’ extensive experience in family law, trials, appeals, contracts, landlord-tenant, and other types of law.

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Family Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 11 months ago

I'm so sorry to hear this! This is awful, and I really feel badly for you.

I'm an appellate attorney and have been practicing law for many years.

First, your attorney was unprepared, as you know, and you know you can file a grievance against that attorney. You can do that here: https://www.gabar.org/forthepublic/fileacomplaint.cfm

As an appellate attorney, I would tell you to make sure to file your appellate papers asap. I'm not sure this would be set aside, but you need another attorney, an appellate attorney, who can argue "ineffective assistance of counsel." That is usually a good argument IF the fact that the attorney wasn't prepared impacted your case and that had your attorney been prepared the case could have gone the other way. So that's one way to set it aside. You know of course that appeals are difficult to win, but without appealing this, the order stands, unless you have an attorney file motions to get the judge to reconsider his decision. Most judges won't reconsider their decision after they've spent awhile agonizing over the decision itself.

So I would certainly recommend filing an appeal in this matter. Plus -- your attorney refused to come back? That's crazy and I'm incredulous too, because at least the judge was giving your attorney a chance to get prepared! That's where your ineffective assistance of counsel comes in on appeal.

You can file a notice of appeal and still have the attorney try to set aside this order in the trial court, but you must file the notice of appeal on time and the time doesn't get extended. Almost in every state, the time limit for the notice of appeal is the cut-off time, and that cannot be undone. So yes, I would file a notice of appeal right away and get another attorney to take care of the appeal for you and to possibly see if they can set the trial court order/judgment aside.

I don’t always say to get another lawyer, but in this instance I would. We aren't allowed to refer to any particular lawyer. However, what I do here, which helps my customers tremendously, is I give you a list of lawyers in your area and I'll show you how easy it is to pick one. I have a short, easy to understand free guide and it will show you what to look for in an attorney. I will also look for LegalAid and pro bono attorneys in your area if you tell me to do that. I just need to know where to look. The bigger the city the better. My customers tell me they have found great lawyers from my information. This part is free of charge -- I do this as a courtesy to my customers here. Just let me know if you want this information.

I don't think Legal Aid will do appeals, so I wouldn't waste my time looking for Legal Aid here, but you will need another attorney to complain about this attorney.

Does this answer your question?

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Family Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 11 months ago

Good luck to you! You can come back here free of charge after I'm rated for a follow-up question.

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. That includes looking for lawyers. I’m happy to do so! I’m here most of the time (usually at night!) so you can always come back and talk to me (no extra charge) after I’m rated. If I’m not here, I will get an email if you leave me a question.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you for your response. I have a few concerns with your answer. First, according to my research, you can not bring an ineffective counsel argument in a civil case, only a criminal case. Secondly, the Bar Association in Georgia does not consider grievances for ineffective counsel. I assume the laws are different in NY but here in GA, that is what I've researched. Thanks.
Family Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 11 months ago

I'm happy to continue researching this for you. I want to make sure I give you the right guidance.

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Family Lawyer: FamilyAttorney, Lawyer replied 11 months ago

From what I can tell, the appellate cases which use ineffective assistance of counsel are indeed criminal cases in GA. It's surprising that the legislature and courts would allow your attorney, for example, to get away with the behavior exhibited here, and that prejudices you. You can still file a notice of appeal and discuss this with a local appellate attorney to see if you can have any other theories on your appeal. Your failure to file a notice of appeal would be fatal to your appeal, and you can always decide not to pursue the appeal later on, so it's in your interest to at least file it and then see if you have a viable appeal, OR to discuss this with local appellate counsel now to see whether you can find a valid argument before you decide whether to appeal or not. As far as grievances, I see that the grievance committee can find such conduct unprofessional yet not unethical, so this doesn't necessarily give you a chance to file a grievance but it doesn't say you can't. If the grievance committee disagrees with a contention that your lawyer was unethical then it will dismiss the grievance and could state that the lawyer was merely unprofessional. This gives an awful lot of leeway to poor legal practice by civil attorneys in GA, which is unfortunate.

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