Dead Beat attorneys how do you get your money?

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    I've been a LNC since 2000 but the majority of my work was for a health system as an independant contractor and they always paid promptly. I did some work for an attorney end of 2003, he solicited me, billed him in November and repeatedly since and he has not paid. He refused a written report. I gave him a verbal report and he wanted some specific questions answered which he e-mailed, but told me not to e-mail them back he would call. I e-mailed him twice that I was prepared with the additional information but he did not call me for the information. The retainer check was not signed so I returned it (after making a copy), but that has not been replaced either. He did sign a contract agreeing to pay upon receipt of invoice and agreeing to notify me in writing if he disagreed with the bill. He has given me no reason for not paying . Has anyone had any experience with this and how did you get it resolved?
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  4. 5 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Hi, Tango71.

    I havenít seen your contract, but based on what you say, you can seek recovery on several theories. One, for breach of your written contract. Two, I donít know where you live, but in New York you can seek recovery for an "account stated," that is, the lawyerís failure to object to your bills. Three, you can seek recovery on a "quantum meruit," theory, which essentially means the value of services rendered.

    I donít know how much money youíre talking about, but you should check the rules of the small claims court in the county where you live: in New York, you can sue in small claims court if the amount at issue is less than $5,000.00. The advantages to small claims court are obvious: you donít need a lawyer, the judge or arbitrator will render a Decision quickly, and the procedure is inexpensive. Also, youíll be able to go before the judge or arbitrator fairly soon after you file your complaint with the court clerk.

    The defendant will have the opportunity to come to court and present his or her side of the story. You will need to bring all of your papers to court to establish to the judgeís satisfaction that you have a contract, that you performed the services you obligated yourself to perform, and that the defendant did not pay you.

    Good luck; let me know how it goes.
  6. 0
    you can file a civil suit without an attorney by just going to the court house and filing out some forms. When he gets served that might wake him up. Of course, I would be tempted to go to his office and ask in a loud voice when I was getting the money he owed me.
  7. 0
    I'd contact him directly by phone or in person and find out why he has not paid you. I'd also add interest. I think filing a civil suit is the next step if these don't get you paid. Contacting the State Bar Association might also be something to consider.
  8. 0

    Well yesterday we went to small claims court. Tried mediation but he was insulting in the amount he offered to settle for so we went to see the judge. His failure to work within the contract and follow through cost him the case.

    Judgement for the plaintiff for the full amount plus court costs!

    Of course he's still going to try to get out of it by filing a "trial de novo" (appeal). unlike Small claims in the appeal trial you can bring a lawyer, I'm sure he thinks that will scare me off because of the cost. I don't need an attorney to represent myself, I did just fine yesterday on my own and I'll do it again...

    Thanks to those who responded.

    Tango71 signing off....
    Last edit by Tango71 on Nov 4, '04 : Reason: spelling error
  9. 0
    Quote from Tango71

    Well yesterday we went to small claims court. Tried mediation but he was insulting in the amount he offered to settle for so we went to see the judge. His failure to work within the contract and follow through cost him the case.

    Judgement for the plaintiff for the full amount plus court costs!

    Of course he's still going to try to get out of it by filing a "trial de novo" (appeal). unlike Small claims in the appeal trial you can bring a lawyer, I'm sure he thinks that will scare me off because of the cost. I don't need an attorney to represent myself, I did just fine yesterday on my own and I'll do it again...

    Thanks to those who responded.

    Tango71 signing off....

    Iím so glad that you had a good result in small claims court. Remember to mail a copy of the judgment to the defendant by certified mail and demand payment.

    If the defendant doesnít pay you (and judgment debtors often donít), file the small claims judgment in the county clerkís office, so it will be a lien on the defendantís property. There may be a small filing fee. It varies by state to state, but, In New York, a judgment is good for 20 years. Eventually, he will want to sell or refinance his house, or take out a line of credit or a car loan, and heíll have to deal with you.
    MG


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