April 11, 2011
A panel of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct has ordered a reprimand of an attorney for his handling of a breach of contract matter against a contractor who had been hired to apply latex siding to the client's home.
The attorney came to the client's home to inspect the damage. He told her the fee would be %3,500. She offered to write him a check but "he advised her he only accepted cash." She brought the cash to him on the next day and was given a receipt.
There was no written fee agreement and the advanced payment was not escrowed until earned. Indeed, the client thereafter spent years trying to contact the attorney. She finally was able to meet with him but "[n]othing changed after the meeting." The client eventually paid another contractor $17,000 to repair the damage.
According to the panel, "[the attorney] has done nothing but string along [the client] for years. There has been no real effort undertaken on her behalf. She has been provided false information for years."
The attorney explained that the case presented challenges and that "the defendant in the lawsuit is a wealthy and powerful man who owns a lage realty company with his wife and barely lost an election for County Judge." He "remains committed to winning the case for her with a collectable judgment." (Mike Frisch)
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