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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118310
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I was sued by a person for breach of contract. I paid a lawyer

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I was sued by a person for breach of contract. I paid a lawyer for preparation of legal documents showing that the contract date exceeded the statute of limitations by about 3 years. I presented the case myself and won.

Can I recover my legal fees by claiming this was a frivolous lawsuit, since the attorney either did not have a copy of the contract to back up the claim, or if he did, he filed the suit anyways knowing that it exceeded the statute of limitations?

Either way his claim had no underlying justification in fact and I'm not sure if existing laws unequivocally prohibit such a claim.

His suit caused me to have to defend a claim which had no legal merit. Again my question is can I recover my legal fees directly, or through sanctions imposed by the court on either the Plaintiff or the lawyer who presented the claim?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If you can indeed prove the lawsuit was frivolous in that they knew it exceeded the statute of limitations, then Maine law provides the court has discretion to award attorney's fees. You need to file a Motion for Sanctions and Attorney's fees in the same court case number XXXXX ask the court to now award you these costs and fees of defending a suit filed out of time. You file the motion in the same case and it is up to the judge to determine which one pays you, the plaintiff or his attorney or both.




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Law Educator, Esq. and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How do I go about proving that they knew that it exceeded the statute of limitations. Other than the fact that the attorney offered no argument when I presented the contract. When he received my copy of the contract he filed a motion with the court asking for dismissal of the case but not agreeing to pay my cost or attorney's fees.


 


Is this proof?


The attorney sent me a letter on June 6, 2012, which starts out with "I am writing to you on behalf of plaintiff concerning a roofing job you did for her back in August and September of 2006. It appears that your contract with the Plaintiff did not comply with the Home construction Contract Act, which is also an unfair trade practice." Here he implies that he is looking at the contract.


 


He ends with "I had previously requested a a copy of your portion of the contract from your wife and that it has not been supplied to me. I repeat my request to see your portion of the contract." Again he implies that he has a copy of the contract.


 


The actual date on the contract I presented is August 20, 2003.


 


Can an attorney materially misrepresent the facts in a case? He has pulled the date of August and September 2006 out of thin air. He then implies that he is looking at a contract, and in fact has a copy of the contract. He obviously did not because he would have known that the date was August 20, 2003.


 


 

Thank you for your follow up.

Your proof is the fact he did have a copy of the contract which would have given him the date from which the statute of limitations would have started and any reasonably competent attorney is held by the rules of conduct to perform due diligence to verify the statute of limitations before they file suit.

Thus, since he put the incorrect dates on the suit when he had the contract, this is intentionally misrepresenting facts to the court which is grounds for the sanctions, including all costs and your attorney's fees as well as the court filing a complaint with the state bar for the attorney intentionally misleading the court.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How do I go about bringing this up to the court?


 


I am representing myself. The Judge in the case has requested that myself and the plaintiff (plaintiff's attorney) appear at a hearing in a few days to discuss court costs and legal fees.


 


Do I bring it up at the hearing , or do I need to file some sort of motion?


 


I have already filed a motion entitled support for defendant's recovery of legal costs, but didn't bring up the issue of sanctions to collect legal costs because I didn't think of it until now.

Thank you for your response.

You do this by your testifying to the court and you presenting a copy of the contract showing the correct dates and showing that the attorney had this available to him and neglected it. You would do all of this as part of your motion and if you filed a motion for legal costs, you can file a separate motion now for sanctions under ME Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11, which says when an attorney signs a pleading he is signing acknowledging that he has made due diligence in verifying that the contents are complete and accurate.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So if I understand correctly, I testify in court first? Then file a motion for sanctions.


 


Or do I file the motion for sanctions tomorrow, April 2nd, then testify at the hearing which is April 3rd? If I file the motion tomorrow I don't know if the plaintiff's attorney will have time to respond.

While you should file the motion for sanctions now, while you are waiting for your hearing on the other motion, because you are on the eve of your hearing, you really have no choice but to make the motion for sanctions under Rule 11 when you show up in court and make it as an oral motion to the court when the proceedings start. You tell the judge you would like to amend your motions to include motion for sanctions pursuant to rule 11 for the attorney submitting a signed pleading without verifying the proper statute of limitations.
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