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Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

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  • Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

    Well, the worst possible outcome in my 3-year litigation happened yesterday.

    My attorney was granted his motion to withdraw due to "irreconciliable differences", and the judge was not interested in anything that I had to say. Extensive pre-trial prep, including mediation (which now I have to arrange pro se) has to be completed by April 20th, and the trial is on the docket the first week in May.

    the judge suggested that I "find another attorney" and I pointed out that I have spent over 100K on this so far, 40K of that with this recent attorney. I can't afford another attorney.

    Given that my ex-attorney spent the money on endless "research", which doesn't help me as it mirrors research already done, and fruitless attempts to procure documents from the Defendants, and fruitless attempts to subpeona ONE witness who is apparently now out of state and no one really knows where he is, I would like to file SOMETHING that would reimburse moneys I paid him so that I can procure counsel. I guess I need to file a motion to stay proceedings also.

    This guy did nothing that he promised me. He never talked to my witnesses. He did not pick up the one piece of discovery, less than 10 miles from his office, which is sitting in the defendant's office to this day. He had promised to depose all of these people and get the defendants to produce documentation and he did none of that. 40K down the toilet.

    Do people in my situation, whose cases are complex enough that they need a lawyer, but they have very little money, ever prevail if they file a motion against their prior attorney to get back the money they spent? Or a motion for Sanctions? Damages? Am I totally scr*wed at this point? I am still stunned that the motion was granted this close to trial when I have paid all of my legal bills and kept out of my attorney's hair.

    Irreconcilable differences, my a$$. The guy just didn't want to do the hard work of actually taking this to trial.

  • #2
    Re: Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

    It sounds as tho this isn't the first attorney you've worked with on the case? What happened prior to this last one?


    • #3
      Re: Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

      My previous attorney had the case for over 2 1/2 years and spent over 70K on repeated and futile discovery attempts. The defendants are not complying with discovery requests, and my previous attorney had drafted a motion to compel discovery but wanted me to add another 30K to my retainer before he would proceed with a hearing on the motion. Instead, I allowed him to withdraw after I had found another firm which assured me that, unlike my previous attorney, they could actually GET discovery instead of just trying to. I find it bizarre that in 3 years, I'm the only one who has been deposed and the only one who has answered interrogatories.


      • #4
        Re: Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

        The amount spent pre trial seems very high, from your account. I have seen billings in complex antitrust cases, with multiple corporate defendants that did not approach that for discovery.

        Granted,you are between a rock and a hard place. You might find an attorney whose area of practice includes legal malpractice to advise and help frame a bar complaint for return of some of your fees. When it comes to compensation for any professional or servant the principle of "quantum meruit" applies -- "what was it worth?" Were the billings excessive? Did he actually do the work he billed for? And was it appropriate?

        No doubt with his pre trial preparation, such as it was, he was not prepared to go to trial. If the malpractice lawyer believes you have good grounds to recover some of your money,he may also know of an attorney who would be willing to take your case. If it is personal injury,of course,the lawyer will work on contingency.


        • #5
          Re: Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

          It is high, isn't it? Sometimes, I just can't believe it.

          My case began in late 2009 when my loan servicer repeatedly threatened me with foreclosure for not increasing my flood insurance to "replacement cost". I had had other insurance issues with them in the past and did not have a pleasant relationship with them. I had always paid my mortgage by the first of the month. I had bought my home from my servicer when I was their employee. 20% down. Insurance limits - including flood - above Federal requirements and more than enough to cover my mortgage and clean up costs if my modest house is destroyed. I've been in the insurance biz so I know how to protect myself.

          And every month for three months in 2009 I'm threatened with foreclosure?

          I bought the house for $165,000.00. The mortgage balance in late 2009 was $127,000.00. The house has had a market value for the past five years of between $50,000 and $60,000.

          I told the servicer in late 2009 that I would not increase my insurance, and if they were going to foreclose, they may as well save themselves the court costs and accept a DIL, or a short sale, I sent several certified letters to their "one true" notice address per the terms of the mortgage with my offer. I called them, I was ignored. I stopped paying my mortgage.

          Three months later, I discovered the locks changed on my house. I got a lawyer. Finally got a key from my servicer. Discovered my belongings tampered with and the power shut off. Changed the locks back. Filed a lawsuit against the servicer and the trash out company they hired.

          A month later, they finally filed for foreclosure.

          Throughout the years and through many proceedings and hearings and requests for injunctions to keep them from tresspassing, they doggedly insist that they have a right to "inspect" the property and "protect" it, and indeed they do, but per the terms of the mortgage they must give me written notice first and state a reasonable cause for inspection. This written notice must be to my "one true" notice address, which they are well aware of since I have repeatedly sent them letters to their notice address reiterating my one notice address. I have never received notice.

          They broke in again five months later. Turned off the power (in August, in a tropical, humid climate) and locked me out. I changed the locks back. I begged my attorney to depose the trash out goon who had done this, but my attorney insisted on waiting for interragatories.

          I had a job transfer to another town. I'm still maintaining the home so it doesn't look vacant, but this is difficult since every month my servicer's trash out goon places a large "VACANT" sign on the front window. My neighbor removes it. They are nnow claiming that these VACANT signs are "notice", even though they state no reasonable cause, and are not mailed to my notice address.

          In January 2012, my servicer won a Summary Judgment w/o prejudice, because I did not send them written notice to their notice address after my first break-in, asking them to "cure" the break in, and giving them a reasonable amount of time to "cure" it before filing suit. I could re-file after sending them notice.

          I sent them notice. They ignored it. I refiled.

          I tried again for an injunction to keep them from tresspassing this July. They argued that they aren't tresspassing, they are "inspecting", and that the VACANT signs are officially "notice". They made the staggering claim that the VACANT signs "protect" the property. I argued that if given proper notice, per the "unambiguous notuce requirement" they based their Summary Judgment on, they may inspect the property. My neighbor or my mother will even let them inside to inspect. I argued that they can't have it both ways: either they have "taken possession" of the property before a foreclosure proceeding, which is illegal in my state, and which they claim they have not done, or they are tresspassing. I argued that the notice requirement is not a one way street,

          The injunction was denied. The servicer's lawyer filed for attorney's fees and costs for working on his objection to the injunction, as he had with the Summary Judgment, but these were denied this December, so at least I have that.

          The original goon who broke into my house has disappeared.

          My two main witnesses are elderly, and they have not been deposed, My recent attorney never even spoke to them.

          And here I am. Every month a VACANT sign is removed from my house by my neighbor.

          You guys may think I'm a fool for dragging this out, but I am so outraged at the rampant fraud and collusion going on in my state between the court system and the banks that I... I just can't believe it. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.

          The banks in this state are convinced that they can do whatever they want. They can make theiir own rules and laws. They don't have to play by the rules.

          If I can't even make it to trial with a lawyer, and with the incredible amount of money I have paid, and no discovery, what hope is there for someone who little or no financial resources? Not to mention the time and stress involved.


          • #6
            Re: Attorney has Withdrawn! 3 months to Trial!

            Also, I know I will get some flak for stopping my mortgage payment, and I'm willing to take the heat. There's more to this, including issues with the house which I was saving money to address, but I won't go into that here. I was not in love with the house, to put it kindly. I tried to get a lawyer to arrange a DIL or short sale, and was actually in talks with my first attorney about this when the first break in occurred. He was lukewarm about arranging a DIL or short sale (this is not considered lucrative enough for all of the lawyers I talked to), but was excited to represent me after the first break in. "They can't legally do this," he told me. "They won't want this to end up in court."


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