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Old 12-20-2011, 08:14 AM  
J Diddy J Diddy is offline
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Lawyer doesn't show up to court

Here's the situation.

I have a friend who has an ongoing child custody/visitation case going. He hires an attorney, pays the attorney, and all looks well. Next thing you know the attorney's son dies and she immediately goes into reclusion. She doesn't return his calls, moves her office to her home and almost disappears.

Last Wednesday there was a hearing scheduled. My friend calls her up on Tuesday to confirm and she tells him no that she is getting a continuance. Everything still sounds good, except they went ahead and had the hearing. They determined child support, visitation, etc without his or his attorney being there. They stuck it to home so bad that she actually had her attorney amend it because she felt sorry for him.

My question is this: Is there any legal action that can be taken to a)get his money back from the attorney b)reverse or amend the decision because of negligence of his attorney

I know there's a lawyer or two on here, but I'm curious of the great mind pools thoughts on this.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:43 AM   #2
mikeyis4dcats. mikeyis4dcats. is offline
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he would have to show ineffective counsel. depends on how the bar association and court view the attorney....they could turn a blind eye or they could admit she is not doing her job.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:54 AM   #3
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In Missouri? Go to the Missouri Bar website. There's a complaint form on the site. Or call and ask. Either way, contact the Missouri Bar.

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Old 12-20-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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There should indeed be a price she has to pay, (one would hope) but I have no idea what that is, or if it's to late for your friend. I lost most of my faith in the legal system, years ago. In a lot of cases, it's nothing more than a circus.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:04 AM   #5
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Find another lawyer to sue the lawyer?
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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Sorry to hear that. Hopefully he didn't go to court with no lawyer.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Sorry to hear that. Hopefully he didn't go to court with no lawyer.
He didn't go. The lawyer told him that she was going to get a continuance.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:14 AM   #8
Chiefnj2 Chiefnj2 is offline
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Call the Judge's law clerk immediately and explain what happened. Have the clerk ask the Judge the best way to proceed.

Write to her and tell her what happened. Tell her she has 24 hours to correct the situation and speak with your friend, or he will file an ethics committee complaint.

In the meantime, find a new lawyer.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:35 AM   #9
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:58 AM   #10
Cave Johnson Cave Johnson is offline
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My office mate is a family law attorney.... will check with him when he gets back from court.

Generally speaking, though, he'll probably have to appeal the decision (with a new lawyer).
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:00 AM   #11
Bwana Bwana is offline
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PM Banyon.

Banyon is a lawyer.
So was gobowe (John) and he's one of the few lawyers I have any respect for.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:06 AM   #12
KC Tattoo KC Tattoo is offline
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:06 AM   #13
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It's odd that the judge would proceed without the attorney or party present. Find another attorney ASAP!

Then call the Judge's clerk, explain the situation and find out if the attorney had actually filed an appearance (statement saying she is representing your friend) and ask if a request for continuance had been filed. The legal community is pretty small and word has probably gotten around that this attorney isn't doing her job.

Skip the Bar Association, they are not in charge of attorney discipline. File a complaint with the Attorney Discipline Board here:
http://www.mochiefcounsel.org/index.htm

edit: Be sure that he provides a detailed account of what he paid, when he paid, unreturned correspondence, etc. Did she ever appear in court for your friend?
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #14
Cave Johnson Cave Johnson is offline
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It's odd that the judge would proceed without the attorney or party present.
That happens all the time, especially if there have been prior continuances.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherLover View Post
Here's the situation.

I have a friend who has an ongoing child custody/visitation case going. He hires an attorney, pays the attorney, and all looks well. Next thing you know the attorney's son dies and she immediately goes into reclusion. She doesn't return his calls, moves her office to her home and almost disappears.

Last Wednesday there was a hearing scheduled. My friend calls her up on Tuesday to confirm and she tells him no that she is getting a continuance. Everything still sounds good, except they went ahead and had the hearing. They determined child support, visitation, etc without his or his attorney being there. They stuck it to home so bad that she actually had her attorney amend it because she felt sorry for him.

My question is this: Is there any legal action that can be taken to a)get his money back from the attorney b)reverse or amend the decision because of negligence of his attorney

I know there's a lawyer or two on here, but I'm curious of the great mind pools thoughts on this.
1st, use the link luv provided to contact the mo bar and file a complaint (which will put tremendous pressure on the lawyer to correct the situation)...

then contact the lawyer and demand to know what malpractice insurance company the lawyer uses and contact them with a claim of malpractice (even more pressure to correct the situation or face big problems with the insurance company)...

then see what pittsie's colleague comes up wrt advice on how to proceed with the divorce case (my guess is to get another lawyer to reopen the judgment or appeal it, but he'll know for sure)...

most important, don't worry about it too much, it can be fixed i'm pretty sure...
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