What can be done with fraudulent attorney?
October 2, 2012 12:32 AM Subscribe
This is happening in California. I am helping a friend find his way through a legal morass. He hired an attorney who came highly recommended by two acquaintances. His attorney agreed to sue a mortgage bank for fraud, prevent foreclosure, make a new loan workout, and sue for other damages (incredible emotional distress). Unfortunately, the attorney has completely flaked; committed multiple no-shows (fined four times by the judge and referred by judge to State Bar for sanction); and my friend's case was actually dismissed by the judge for the last no-show, only to be reversed by the judge because my friend accidentally happened to be in court that day to watch his proceeding, and pleaded for a continuance. The judge in this case even suggested my friend get another attorney, as she (the judge) reversed the dismissal.
posted by Vibrissae to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The attorney has also turned out to be incredibly unethical; she never returned calls (only three calls in 16 months), and is extremely elusive. She (the attorney) also revealed some details of my friend's case to one of the acquaintances that recommended the attorney!
The attorney has become mostly uncommunicative, and now denies in emails that he was supposed to do anything but forestall the foreclosure. The attorney has agressively insinuated negative things about my friend, in email, and insists that she has done what she was hired to do. The attorney has not agreed to meet, in spite of multiple requests to do so.
My friend is from another country, and thought he could trust this attorney because she came recommended by known acquaintances. My friend is not a "helicopter client"; he has trusted his attorney, but has was never informed about details of the case, and has been led down a deceptive, primrose path to potentially losing his home.
1) My friend has paid all but $500.00 of a $12,000.00 retainer. He doesn't want to give this attorney another dime, but the original contract says the attorney can place a lien on my friend's house for non-payment.
2) How do we get rid of this attorney and get my friend's legal papers back? Is it possible to get the fee back from this flake attorney? Can my friend sue this attorney for damages if he loses his home - not just for the fee, but for the amount of his loss in the home, if he loses the home?
3) Is it possible, once a case like this has been started, that the plaintiff (a non-lawyer) can take on the case himself? Maybe I can help him (I'm not a lawyer). Is that advisable? My friend is attempting is a loan workout for a house that was never underwater. The incredible details of the fraud perpetrated by the mortgage bank (including a literal admission of illegal activity by one of the bank's loan officers) are all available. I was also a witness to the bank's multiple deceptions.
4) My friend is beside himself, because his home WAS sold to another bank at auction, several months ago, in spite of the promise to place an injunction against foreclosure by his lame attorney. When my friend found out about this, his attorney said, "don't worry, everything will be OK. Now the attorney is telling my friend that he will lose his case and that all she did her job by delaying the foreclosure (btw, the house is not underwater; there is a substantial of equity in the home). My friend's attorney is just plain lying. Any advice is greatly appreciated.