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Is there a statute of limitations on how long an attorney has…

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Is there a statute of...
Is there a statute of limitations on how long an attorney has to collect on a bill that I owe to him?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Personal Injury Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
2/25/2012
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
Law Pro
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Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 24,870
Experience: 20 years experience in personal injury law - both plaintiff and defense
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Yes, an attorney would be subject to the state's statute of limitations for breach of contract like everyone else.

In Illinois - the statute of limitations for breach of contract is - Written, 10 years; Oral, 5 years.

The statute of limitations would start to run when a payment is due but wasn't paid.

However, in your case - it would appear that he is not going to attempt to collect any potential fees or he would have long ago made demand for such. Moreover, he has a ethical duty to communicate with you - since he has closed communications I very much doubt he's going to pursue anything in the matter further.



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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I need to give a better timetable to get a better answer. Attorney hired 5 years ago, 2 years ago he filed paperwork to sue party for payment. 30 days after filing that paperwork he sent letter telling us he wished to withdraw. 2 years ago he filed motion to withdraw as our attorney but has never set hearing before the judge, even though at one time he said he had. Last communication we had was this past Sept. when he made an offer to settle out debt with him and I counteroffered. To date have not heard anything from him. We had in past requested appt with him to resolve any differences, and he refused to make appt with us. Dec 2010 we did make good faith payment to him and requested appt . He took money and refused appt. HOw does statute of limitations fit inot this scenario?
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
It would appear that potentially you owe the attorney monies and you were negotiating with him.

It would appear that the statute of limitations has at a minimum 5 years left before it's over.

So there is alot of time yet within which he can file suit for monies allegedly owed him.


Sorry.

I realize that this answer may not be entirely to your liking, and I regret being the bearer of information that you really don’t want to hear. But it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.



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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
. At some point, I would assume he will set a hearing before the judge to potentially be removed as our attorney. Does his lack of communication with us work for us or against us,legally speaking in the judge's ruling.
And doesn't his lack of willingness to communicate with us violate his ethical responsibilites to us as his client, and how does that legally set with the judge?
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
If he hasn't withdrawn his appearance - then he's still ethically and professionally liable if something goes wrong with your legal action.

His lack of communication works for you - he's in violation of the Rules of Professional Responsibilty an attorney owes his clients.

I would file a complaint with the Disciplinary Board about his conduct if he pursues the outstanding balance.

The judge is not the DB - so he really can only comment on the breach of contract and if you owe the attorney money.

So the statute of limitations hasn't yet expired - you would still owe the monies if he filed suit.


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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
One last question just for clarification on my part. At what point in this entire transaction does the 5 year time period start?
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
As stated, the statute of limitations would start to run when a payment is due but wasn't paid. So, if you owed him a payment back 3 years ago and didn't pay - that's when it would start running.




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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I have 2 questions to ask. You previously stated that the statute of limitations regarding payment starts to run when payment is due but not paid. The last time that I saw anything in writing that indicated any monies I owed to this attorney was in Sept. of 2009 when I rec'd a copy of the motion filed to recoup his fees under Rule 137. Previous to that date, I had received partial statements on a monthly basis. However, those statements never carried a date on them, nor where they for the full amount, and in fact were only for about 1/3 of the bill. I have no written contract with this attorney regarding his fees. My first appt. with him was Feb 2005. In Dec of 2009, I sent him a good faith payment and requested an appointment with him to attempt to reconcile any misconceived opinions that he had that our attorney-client relationship was no longer working. He took the money but refused an appointment with me.
The last correspondence I rec'd from him was in June of 2011 at which time he offered to reduce his fees we owe to him and wants to schedule a hearing on his motion to withdraw. I responded to him in August of 2011 and have heard nothing from him since then. My 2 questions are: 1. How do the Rules of Professional Responsibility work with regards to his lack of communication for such long periods of time, and 2. how does the statute of limitations work since I have not rec'd a dated statement from his office and then only record of full payment due accompanied his paperwork when he filed our motion to collect attorney fees. I would like to mention, he has never broken down his bill to explain time that he spent, just dates and what he is billing for. For ex.on his listings of payment he expects, it states: 6/27/05: Ltr to ------ by fax, prepare for status hearing, but no dollar amount of what he charged for that or time spent .
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
An answer to my above rather lengthy 2 questions.
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
You may have an argument that he didn't earn the fees he's claiming. You are entitled to a break-down of his fees - costs and hours spent, etc.

However, his fees would be based on the agreement between you - whether an hourly rate, contingency, or flat rate.

It would appear that the attorney is well within the statute of limitations given that you made payment as recent as 2009. As I stated before - in Illinois - the statute of limitations for breach of contract is - Written, 10 years; Oral, 5 years.

He doesn't have to continue representing you but can take any monies paid an apply to the amount due and owing from you.

If the attorney filed a motion to withdraw - then it's up to the judge from that point forward.

I will answer these additional 2 questions - but please know that the Terms of Service of JustAnswer specify that each customer ask ONE Question in each question thread. I would respectfully ask that you open a new question thread if you have a new question to ask of me. You may ask for me personally by referring to me by name (Law Pro) in the question and I will be able to answer your continuing questions.

My 2 questions are: 1. How do the Rules of Professional Responsibility work with regards to his lack of communication for such long periods of time,


It's a matter of the totality of the circumstances. That sometimes it's not necessary for ongoing continuing communication unless the facts and circumstances of the litigation dictate such. So it's a case-by-case basis if the attorney failed to comply with the Rules of Professional Responsibility. If you have a concern you can file a complaint with the state Disciplinary Board and they will investigate the matter.

and 2. how does the statute of limitations work since I have not rec'd a dated statement from his office and then only record of full payment due accompanied his paperwork when he filed our motion to collect attorney fees. I would like to mention, he has never broken down his bill to explain time that he spent, just dates and what he is billing for. For ex.on his listings of payment he expects, it states: 6/27/05: Ltr to ------ by fax, prepare for status hearing, but no dollar amount of what he charged for that or time spent .

It all depends on the agreement between you and the attorney as to their fees for representing you - whether hourly, contingency basis, or flat fee. Once the attorney has given an itemized statement they don't have to give one again as to the same services performed - the attorney can just state the balance owed on future invoices.




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Just Answer is a "PAY FOR SERVICE" Website. Please press the GREEN ACCEPT BUTTON so I will receive credit for assisting you (even if you placed a deposit or have a subscription program). You may continue to ask follow-up questions after accepting. If the information is helpful, I would very much appreciate positive feedback. Bonuses are also appreciated. If you do have a follow-up question, press REPLY, NOT relist, or else I won’t receive the question.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
And if there was never any agreement/discussion regarding fees, payment, etc?
Personal Injury Lawyer: Law Pro, Attorney replied 6 years ago
If you paid him any monies - then you impliedly made an agreement with the attorney.
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