Category Archives: Attorney Malpractice

Man vs. Bank: Who’s Right?

On February 19th, Londell McMillan sued Barclays Bank for a loan default “fabrication”. The British bank had sued former partner of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s entertainment, media, and sports group, just a few months earlier, for a $540,000 loan payment from 2010.

The case began when McMillan joined LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & McRae, right around the time of their merger with Dewey Ballantine, and was told he needed to pay a contribution to the firm’s operations. McMillan claims however that he never took out the loan, as the CEO emailed him two days before the due date saying it was already paid. Barclays declined to comment.

Children’s Lawyer Jailed for Misallocating Award Funds

John William Coates, a Texas Children’s Personal Injury Lawyer, pleaded guilty last August to withholding $600,000 from the Travis County court registry and his clients from 2002 through 2010. As an attorney to the minors, Coates was to accept awards on behalf of his clients from insurance companies and place that money into a court registry until the child turned 18.

Coates however, kept many of the awards for his personal use, but would deposit the funds into the registry before the child came of age. Sometimes though, the money wasn’t there in time.

Coates now resides at Travis County Jail under a 10-year prison deal, and could be released on probation after six months for good behavior if he agrees to certain conditions, like relinquishing his law license.

Sewer Service Lawsuit Turned Class Action

Earlier in September, Judge Denny Chin agreed to a class action case of thousands of plaintiffs who had been sued for unpaid debts and had default judgments entered against them. The issue began when debt purchaser Leucadia National Corp. and NY law firm, Mel S. Harris and Associates, that specializes in debt collection, used tactics to keep the plaintiffs from finding out about legal action until default judgment was issued.

One of the tactics “sewer service” made sure that notices were either improperly delivered or never served at all. By Judge Chin’s standards, the two companies violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act NY state’s general business law, and the Racketeer influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While Leucadia remained silent, , Harris Associates denied the claims and said it had not broken any laws and that plaintiffs had not proven the existence of an alleged conspiracy to defraud defendants.

Defense Team Fighting Itself

Attorney Joel Brodsky defended Drew Peterson, a convicted murderer, last year along with defense lawyer Steven Greenberg. Now Brodsky is suing Greenberg in a libel case, alleging that Greenberg submitted a “false narrative” to the Chicago Tribune.

It was intended to pay Brodsky back for trying to oust Greenberg from the case, and depicted him as a liar and incompetent. Brodsky was put “in a false light in the public eye,” having his reputation damaged and causing profit losses. Currently Greenberg, lead lawyer on Peterson’s legal team is still trying to overturn his conviction for murdering his new wife and bring him a new trial.

Ambulance-Chaser Caught

Jeffrey Squitieri, an ambulance-chasing lawyer, was caught when he filed a $1 million dollar personal injury claim against the FBI on behalf of a victim who was really an undercover cop.  This past Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health-care fraud.

The undercover cop, who wore a wire, had a phony accident report and who was working for a joing health-care fraud task force, begin working on the case in January 2011.  Squitieri immediately told him to make as many unnecessary doctor visits as possible, and to make sure to bill his insurance company for lots of high-priced procedures like MRIs.  The reason he recommended this is because Squitieri would get a third of whatever reimbursements the victim received.  Squitieri even recommended a chiropractor who specializes in “manipulation under anesthesia” which dramatically increases the amount the cop could claim from his insurance provider.

Finally, when Squitieri learned that the FBI had rented the car that was listed in the police report provided to him by the undercover cop, Squitieri got super excited about the change to sue the FBI.  As a result, in June 2011 Squitieri filed his claim against the FBI.  In September, he was disbarred for misappropriating clients’ money and now faces up to 10 years in prison.

Texas Attorney Malpractice Suit

Tiffany Johnson and Anderson Johnson III, individually and on behalf of minor children, filed a lawsuit against their personal injury attorney following their car accident.  They claim that their personal injury attorney was negligent, and are also suing for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.  The plaintiffs claim that in 2009 they hired the attorney after a serious automobile accident.  The attorney then settled the suit for only $60,000 without their consent.  If this is true, it is clearly a breach of his fiduciary duty.

The family is now seeking court costs, damages and attorney fees.  They feel they have been unjustly represented and are not happy with the settlement amount or how the settlement occurred.

Major Dallas Law Firm Sued for Malpractice

The plaintiffs, James Rogers, William Burmeister, and Conservative Care Inc and Care Affiliates Inc, claim that the lawyer Zanetti breached his fiduciary duty and is guilty of professional negligence/legal malpractice.  The plaintiffs state that they hired him to draft an agreement for their investment in Accent Home Health, of which they became 80% owners.  However, Accent’s founders subsequently sued the plaintiffs alleging the investment agreement that Zanetti wrote was “unconscionable, unenforceable, illusory and void.”  Zanetti then referred them to a litigator within the firm, rather than from another.  As a result, the plaintiffs argue that the litigator found himself defending his partner’s negligent drafting and in a conflict of interest situation.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim that the litigator had them create documents that he then used to try and “hoodwink” the opposing counsel and the Court with, claiming the documents had been made many months before.  The jury also found the investment agreement to be “unconscionable, unenforceable, illusory and void,” and, thus, the plaintiffs claim they have been “financially ruined” as a result of the defendant’s legal malpractice.  The settlement against the plaintiffs is now $5 million plus interest.  They seek that amount and fee forfeiture from Zanetti.