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Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31765
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Hello, Recently my husband was involved in a lawsuit with

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Recently my husband was involved in a lawsuit with his ex-wife. During the course of the lawsuit there was quite a lot of negotiating taking place both between my husband and his ex and between their respective attorneys. About four times during the negotiations his ex-wife reneged on an agreed amount of settlement money, trying to get more. After this had happened several times, my husband made an offer to her and told her that if she reneged again that he was going to withdraw all of his offers and that after that, he would offer her nothing in settlement. Well, she reneged again on the agreed amount and so my husband told his attorney that he would be withdrawing his former offers. His attorney replied that he thought that my husband had made the right decision and he was supportive of that decision. Shortly thereafter that same day after my husband’s attorney had consulted with his ex-wife’s attorney, my husband’s attorney not only changed his opinion of my husband’s decision, but told my husband that if he chose to withdraw his settlement, that he, his attorney, would withdraw his services.
Now during the course of this lawsuit, which took place over a period of five months, the ex-wife evidently had not paid her attorney or had not paid her attorney as much as she owed her (a woman attorney.) Shortly before my husband made this decision to withdraw former offers, his ex-wife’s attorney had notified the court of her intention to withdraw as counsel. After that point, the ex-wife would no longer have had the legal representation of her then current attorney and she did not have the funds to pay another attorney to replace her. This being the case, my husband would have won the lawsuit by default, as the ex-wife would have had no representation and no means of procuring legal representation in the future.
As I said before, when my husband’s attorney first responded to my husband’s withdrawal of his former offers, he supported my husband. It was only after he had consulted with the opposing counsel, who told him that if my husband withdrew his offer that she was not going to get paid for her services, that my husband’s attorney changed his mind and refused to support my husband’s decision. My husband was then forced to pay the last agreed upon settlement amount, which otherwise would not have been necessary had my husband’s attorney not put the interests of the opposing counsel before his own client’s interests.
My husband still owes his attorney a couple of thousand dollars in legal fees, but feels that at the very least the remainder of these fees should be waived or even that my husband should in some way be compensated for this reprehensible behavior on the part of his attorney. Can you please tell me what my husband is able to do under the circumstances? My husband was required to pay thousands of dollars in settlement money that should not have been necessary if it had not been for the highly unethical dealings of his attorney. Please let me know what his recourses are. Thank you so much for your help.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist you.

Just for housekeeping purposes, it is not guaranteed that your husband would win by default if the attorney withdrew. If his ex could have proven to the judge that she can't afford an attorney, she could have asked that your husband pay her attorneys fees - which is not uncommon.

Aside from that, if you can prove that his attorney put someone's interest above your husband's/his client and forced him to make a decision that wasn't in his best interest, then your husband could file a bar complaint against the attorney. Also, your husband could sue his attorney for legal malpractice and seek to recover all or some of the settlement.

It's likely that if he confronts the attorney, this can be settled short of a legal action.

I hope this answers your questions, but if you need something further, please let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you tell me if my husband's attorney did anything illegal by putting the opposing counsel's interests above my husband's? Thank you.

Yes, if the attorney put anyone's interest - including the opposing counsel's - above his, the that's very likely a violation of the ethical rules related to attorneys and their clients. The law requires attorneys to "feverishly" defend their clients, which means that the client's best interest should always be put first.

The attorney is going to try and claim that he was acting in your best interest and that he didn't put your interest first, so you will have to price the intent of his lawyer's actions - which could be tough.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I didn't understand "price the intent of his actions." Also, where can I quote from, that it is his duty to "feverishly" defend the interest of clients? Where does it say this? Thank you so much.

Sorry - auto-complete got me!

"price" should be "prove".

The phrase to feverishly defend a client is usually in the rules of ethics. I'll see if I can find it on your state's rules.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Oh, thank you so much.

Wisconsin's rule says that the attorney must diligently represent the client, but that's basically the same thing. Here's a link to the rules:

Look at 1.3
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help.

No problem. Please let me know if you need anything further.