Saturday, July 14, 2007

Get It In Writing

A divorcing wife retained a law firm to represent her. The husband, a physician, did not submit information regarding the value of his medical practice and its real estate.  The wife's lawyer advised her to get an independent valuation. The wife rejected the advice and proceeded to trial, where she was not awarded any part of the medical practice or real estate.

The firm sued the wife for legal fees of slightly under $3000. The wife counterclaimed alleging malpractice. The firm prevailed on its fee claim and on the malpractice counterclaim. On appeal, both determinations were affirmed by the Connecticut Appellate Court. Error in the malpractice jury instruction did not provide a basis for reversal.

Practice note: the firm got a signed statement from the client confirming her rejection of its advice. (Mike Frisch)

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The same attorney has been representing my wife's ex-husband and my ex-wife in custody battles. Both my wife and I have custody of our respective children (my 12 year old daughter and her 12 year old daughter) Both cases were decided some 10 years ago and my wife and I were both primary custodians with our ex's having visitation every other weekend. Both cases were considered decrees. The attorney in the cases filed for custody of both my daughter and my wife's daughter on each of his client's behalf (separate cases). The basis of both cases was physical, mental and sexual abuse. The parties went so far as to turn us in to Child Protection Services, local law enforcement and even had medical exams to determine if sexual or physical abuse had occurred. child protection, local law enforcement, and the local hospital all concluded no abuse of any kind had occurred. The children all along also indicated no abuse was involved.

The attorney persisted and filed cases on his clients' behalf alleging the abuse. The cases were before different judges. My case was heard fairly quickly and resulted in no custody changes.

My wife's case on the other hand lasted almost 18 months with delay after delay due to the attorney or the judge. Although there was a considered decree in the case the judge allowed the case to proceed and ordered psychological evaluations of both parties. The findings of the evaluations found my wife to be clearly the better parent and recommended no change in custody. The case resulted in almost 2 days of testimony with the attorney in question failing to present any evidence. The attorney in question has used the same allegations of abuse in other cases before this judge. This judge grants 50/50 visitation in every hearing with no basis (failing the Bergeron Rule)even with a considered decree in place. This pattern has been repeated on several occasions. My legal bills are approaching $30,000 due to this attorney's practices.

Is the conduct of this attorney ethical or is this a case of professional misconduct. Any comments are appreciated as this is a gross miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: Mark Prevost | Oct 26, 2007 7:56:33 PM

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