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Getting Sued Twice by same person?

Discussion in 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' started by felixraxta, Oct 26, 2012.

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  1. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi. Well, I as a business owner I received a summons/lawsuit and also was involved the property owners. so I hired an Attorney and the property owners hire their attorney so a couple of months after we settle with the plaintiff trhu his attorney, this lawsuit was about ADA barriers, a settlement involving money was signed by all Parties and the plaintiff gave us one year to fix such ADA Barriers. And that after a year the plaintiff will come back and if he discovers what he believes are disability access violations and problems to the subject location he will let us know and give us 90 days to fix such ADA Barriers..... so I saw the following Paragraphs on this settlement, please read:



    Paragraph #9: Plaintiff shall allow said Defendant 90 days from receipt of plaintiff's disclosure (s) to correct any alleged problems BEFORE seeking relief from the court. Defendant shall have ninety days to fix any alleged access problems barring unforeseen circumstances which may cause delay. If defendants remedy the alleged violation within those 90 days, plaintiff covenants to forgo any lawsuit or cause of action arising from the remedied disability access issue.



    Paragraph #10: It is understood and agreed by the Parties that Plaintiff shall completely release, acquit AND forever discharge DEFENDANTS from any and all claims of any kind and nature, character known or unknown, disclosed or undisclosed, including, but not limited to personal injury, which PLAINTIFF may now have or has ever had against DEFENDANTS, including but not limited to, any and all claims, rights, demands, causes of action for violations of the Amercians With Disabilities Act. of 1990, 42 U.S.C bla bla bla bla..... Violation of any other federal, state, local, or public accommodations statues, rules, regulations, or ordinances, declaratory judgment, injuctive relief, or violation of any other statues, rules, regulations, or ordinances of any kind, wether state, federal or local, and any claim for retaliation under such laws and any claim for attorney's fees or costs.***


    So I just learned a couple of days ago that the same plaintiff's attorney is going to add me as a defendant to a lawsuit that it was filed around 5 - 6 Months ago. I know what lawsuit is and the case number BUT the weird thing is that on the lawsuit he is suing for is for the same reason which is ADA barriers civil rights etc, etc. But I have not see yet my name amended/ added to that lawsuit BUT I already got a settlement offer yesterday from the plaintiffs attorney. So my questions are.




    Can the plaintiff sue me twice for the same alleged violations?

    Does Paragraph #10 protects me for any future lawsuits from the same plaintiff, meaning he can't sue me again because I already settle on that other case/Lawsuit?

    BTW Paragraph #10 Is in this other new settlement that I just got a day or so from this "OTHER" 5-6 Month old lawsuit that I still don't see my name on it. In this settlement offer Paragraph #9 is not there due that the Business is now closed.

    Thanks in advance and of course I might be adding more to this post if needed after reading some replies.

    Thanks!
     
  2. fredrikklaw

    fredrikklaw Moderator

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    Where in Cali are you?

    Felixraxta:

    Of course, I don’t want to know your exact location, but can you tell me roughly what region in California you are in? There is a very good reason I ask this question which has to do with a rash of similar lawsuits bearing the same modus operandi, and by rash I mean literally thousands of cases.

    Would I be right in guessing you are in Southern California somewhere in the Los Angeles, Orange, or San Diego County? If you are, then I have some information that might be helpful to you cause and I shall hold my peace on my response to your question as it depends on where in California you reside, or do business rather.

    fredrikklaw
     
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  3. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks fredrikklaw, I am not on those Areas that you Mentioned.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    These types of lawsuits have reached epidemic proportions all over California.

    It appears to be a new cottage industry.

    In fact, one California city even paid a lawyer fifteen grand to stay out of their city.

    I suggest you retain a lawyer and have him or her defend this vigorously.

    If you don't, you'll get your pocket picked.



     
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  5. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your reply Army Judge, I am looking for strong opinions in regards of BOTH Paragraphs before I can move further explaining more about this situation. And I am all about Hiring attorneys, been there done that. But in this particular case i would like too do more research and get the most information I can before hiring an Attorney. So if you guys have more input regarding my first post it will help me alot learning from you guys.

    Thanks Again =)
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    We don't litigate cases, OP.

    We've given you a start.

    But, yes, unlike criminal law suits; a plaintiff can sue you multiple times.

    That's why you need to speak with a lawyer in your county.

    You aren't going to fix this without a lawyer's help.

    The rest is up to you.

    The important thing to know is this is becoming an epidemic.

    Google it, you'll learn more.

    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HD
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
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  7. fredrikklaw

    fredrikklaw Moderator

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    Not in this lifetime!

    FELIXRAXTA:

    O.K., the short answer to your question “Can the plaintiff sue me twice for the same alleged violations?” is NO! Not in this lifetime or the next for that matter.

    Chances are that this particular attorney is filing so many of these ADA Violation lawsuits that he has lost track of defendants as one case blurs into another, because I cannot imagine that even a two-bit attorney like him would intentionally sue the same defendant with the same causes of action after the case was fully litigated on merits and concluded with a (seemingly) very detailed settlement.

    But what I find quite a bit disconcerting here is the fact that you have actually received a settlement offer for a case you have not even been made a party-defendant to as yet, correctly or not. In any event, you do not need to go out and hire counsel to fend off this ridiculous and wholly baseless claim against you because there are two very powerful rules of Civil Law and Procedure that will do just that.

    Those rules that can be called two sides of the same coin are Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel which come into play in situations exactly like the one you find yourself in now. Between them, Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel operate to bar any re-litigation of the same claims and the same causes of action against the same defendant. And these rules derive their authority and potency only when the claims and causes of action in question have previously been litigated fully on merits. Which yours was.

    These two rules, plus clause #10 of the settlement agreement notwithstanding, when a case is said to have been litigated fully on merits, it means that the case was concluded with prejudice, which standing alone and in and of itself operates as a bar to any future duplicate litigation. So, I would suggest that you take the time to pen a pointed letter to the erstwhile attorney, directing his attention to the fact that he is barking up the wrong tree per your past dealings on the same subject matter, and that he should go and take a look at court records and the settlement agreement for further reference.

    And depending on how you feel about this attorney, there is also available to you (purely optional) a good threat of reporting his shenanigans to State Bar of California in the shape of a formal complaint.

    So to sum up: no need to spend money to hire an attorney as this is a small matter that will go away with a letter and you are safe behind its terms and conditions, which settlement was created per the previous litigation, thus making you now, and for as long as you are in compliance with its terms, action-proof.

    fredrikklaw
     
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  8. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks again guys for your input to this post. Later on today I will explain further my whole situation and fredrikklaw I do think something is wrong with that attorney BUT I also think that the attorney that represented me for the first case/lawsuit/settlement is doing something unethical, I will post more details later.


    But let me leave you guys with another question.

    How can I find out for sure if in fact I have been added as a Defendant to this other Lawsuit? I go to a Website every day where you can see cases been filled daily. But like I said I am not yet on that lawsuit. So any other way to find out by myself?

    Felixraxta
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  9. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Fredrikklaw: Armyjudge:

    Ok so going back a little bit. I was leasing a Property to do business on. Then I sublet the property to my brother. So he was paying me the Rent and I was giving that Rent to the Landlord, etc. etc. When he took over the business he changed the name of the business, got his Business License, tax ID, Changed the Ficticious name for the Business, electric bill and any toher bills under his name, etc etc, so everything was under his control other than me making sure he was paying the Rent.

    After around 7-8 months he gets served with this summons, in the summons appeared the Landlord's and my brother's name ONLY. He contacted me and explained the situation and I guess to give him some pointers about what he should do and I said to him "hire an Attorney" because he had 21 days to response to that Summons. So he hired the Attorney and the Landlord Hire Hers. So At the time that my brother hired the attorney around day 19, meaning he got 2 days left torespond to that summons. So a day or so later my brother told me that he hired an Attorney and the attorney said that responding to this Summons was the easiest part,and that can be done in a day electronically. So they started talking about this whole ADA Summons/Lawsuit so a few weeks passed and I got hit with a summons ALSO at my own business that is located in a different city but under the same County.

    SO we got here Two Summons served one for my brothers business and one for my Business two different cases but both are about ADA Violations. And yes it is from the same plaintiff and Attorney. So Like I said my brother at this time have been talking to his lawyer and of course since I was hit with a Summons as well I contacted the same lawyer that my brother hired.

    So I met with the attorney regarding my case and my Landlord was contacted by my attorney and of course landlord say that they will be hiring one since they are located down south so after a few days the whole negotiations started so 3 Attorneys are involved at this time, Mine, Landlord's and the plaintiffs attorney.BUT in our first meeting with my attorney I asked him if I was involved in my brothers case because of the sublease, and he said no because I was not named as a Defendant on that case, so he said that didn't have to worry about that case. SO, In a Matter of weeks my case was settle of course money was involved. BUT on my brothers case they still haven't settle because the landlord said she was not going to pay a dime to the plaintiff because it was all bull crap etc, etc,.

    SO by this time a few months passed and of course my brother was still getting billed from his attorney for his fees about phone calls and more phone calls that he made to the other attorney blha blha blha,. so at this point my brother already spent almost 3 Thousand dollars and still not settle YET with the Plaintiff. BUT on my case it was proccesed and settled very fast, it was done quickly so the attorney on my end got payed for his services towards my case, costed me around 3 Thousand dollars MAX. And I End up paying almost the same amount of money to the plaintiff and my Landlord paid a few extra thousands dollars to the plaintiff as well to settle. So all parties signed and we called it a DEAL.

    So I told my brother that I have already settle with the Plaintiff fast. So yea he got pissed/mad because he felt the landlord was making HIM spend more money on the attorney for the fun of it (i guess). My brother was told by the Landlord that my brother needed to correct any ADA problems inside of the premises and she will fix any ADA problems outside of the premisses FAST because the Landlord had learned that another person in a wheelchair was about to come in and sue both of them again.

    A few days later my brother closed his business saying "I can't take this no more". I don't have the money to keep paying for Lawyer fees I already spent almost 3 Grand on the lawyer AND still need to pay the plaintiff when you already settle very fast, etc, etc,.So now he is on the run, he doesnt talk to me at al, he just didn't care about the Lawsuit, money owe to his attorney for his services, NOTHING etc, etc. A few weeks have passed and guess what guys I started getting phone calls emails from the Attorney my borther was using and of course I Hired for my already settled case, so he asked me that where was my brother and I told him that I did not know, and that he had changed his phone number. Then A few days later I learned that he moved to a different city down south here in California, but I didn't and still don't know exactly about his where abouts.

    Then a week or so ago from todays date I get an email from my brothers attorney saying that he TALKED to my brother and they are trying to settle his case after 6 Months and that they going TO let the landord settle APPART because she doesn't want to pay a dime to the plaitfiff etc, etc.. BUT here is the kicker NOW if you go back a little bit the same Attorney that I used to settle MY case he is telling me NOW on this email that he Have learned that the plaintiffs attorney will be adding me to my brother's case AS A DEFENDANT because i am on the PROPERTY lease agreement. (Keep note guys that I am not at all the business owner etc, etc.)

    I mean come on guys The same attorney (my ex-attorney) that told me at the very first meeting that I didn't have to worry about my brothers case because I was not a DEFENDANT is telling me that I WILL be ADDED now. I mean what the hell guys???

    SO Of course I was thinking the following "I think since my brother left and he owing the attorney money for his services he might be the one draging me into this so I can pay him the fees owed by my brother (since he is no where to be found), and of course pay the settlement" SO I didnt reply to his email, then just recently 2-3 days ago I get another email from my brothers attorney with a file attached to it and guess what guys, it is a Settlement offer!..

    SO I see in this settlement been draft exactly the same as the one I settled for my case except for Paragraph #9 that I mentioned on my first Post. So that is why I came asking for some pointers because I think my brothers attorney the very same one I hired to settle my case is draging me to this case for the simple fact that he wants to get paid for his fees that my brother still owes and of course like I said to pay the settlement as well.

    This attorney represents my brother NOT me I never hired him at all and on this settlement he sent me a couple of days ago via email I see him as HIM representing me and my brother!!?? I mean what the hell I never Authorized him to represent me on this case. I am about to put an email together in regards of why he is representing me when I have not asked for his services at all. But before I need to hear some pointers from you guys.

    So armyjudge I have spent money on attorneys but as a small business owner in this economy this whole situation can make myself go out of business as well. That's why I come here to clear things out before moving forward. Because I know Attorneys all over the country post in here and I am here in hopes to people in here guide me to a better direction, and NOT (if not already) fall into the hands of an Attorney that is unethical.

    Let me know what you guys think. And I do thank you for reading this long post. I will add more if needed.

    Felix
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Attorneys don't call you to collect a debt, and they rarely use email to make settlement offers.

    Those actions are often done by demon, bill collectors.

    I've said it before, you don't get a medical problem diagnosed over the Internet.

    I urge you to find an attorney, or simply ignore these emails.

    You are only required to respond to legal process and court orders.

    All other things it would behoove you to ignore.

    I'm an attorney.

    I don't discuss any personal or financial business via the telephone or email.

    I never sign for registered letters, or overnight packages, unless I know who sent them to me.

    You are only required to respond to proper legal service.

    If I were in your position, I'd simply ignore this mess.

    You aren't a arty, from what you've said, don't allow treachery, deceit, and curiosity to cause you be one.




    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HD
     
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  11. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your reply ArmyJugde.

    So you think he (my brother's attorney) has the right to represent me without my Authorization? I mean I don't think so!

    Like I said I didn't hire him at all for this other case, I think he's just bluffing when he says that he have been talking with my brother which I think is not true because I can't even get a hold of my own brother.


    Felix
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I never addressed whether any lawyer should represent you, if you didn't hire him.

    That's just nonsense, of course he doesn't have the right to represent you Felix.

    If you're smart, you'll hire a lawyer you trust, if you think you need one.

    Or, if I were you, I'd just stop communicating with anyone about this silliness.

    You aren't a party to the lawsuit, or so you say, so just stay out of it.

    It isn't your job to find your brother, or to rat him out.

    Less is always more, let it go.

    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HD
     
  13. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    That's the problem Army Judge, This Attorney says that the plaintiffs attorney is adding me to the lawsuit as a Defendant, so for me to know if I am in fact involved in this Lawsuit. Should I be expecting a Summons? Or Something?

    Or do you know of any websites or phone numbers I can call to check on that?
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you are served, you'll find out.

    Until you are served, you aren't noticed.

    As I said, STOP communicating with him.

    You're not his monkey or his puppet, unless you dance to his music.


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  15. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks again Army judge I have not responded to him at all.

    And I won't respond to him at all.

    In order to be added as a defendant I need to be served with a Summons even knowing this lawsuit is already 6 Months old?

    I have been served before but since they are saying I will be added to the lawsuit that's why I ask.
     
  16. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok so the latest is the following I check on this website and it says the following:

    STIPULATION and ORDER signed by Judge ****, Jr on 10/**/12 ORDERING that Plaintiff may file a First Amended Complaint adding Defendant (name), in the place of DOE DEFENDANT NO. ONE and to identify additional barriers to a ccess discovered at the formal site inspection. Defendant (Name) shall be personally served with an Amended Summons, First Amended Complaint, and other initial court pleadings upon receipt by Plaintiff of the filed amended pleadings.

    How hard/difficult is to answer a summons myself and to contact the plaintiff's attorney by mail and settle apart from my brother and the landlord?

    At this point I have another attorney handling another things for me but I don't know if I should trow this thing to him or contact the attorney I had once (my brothers attorney) or I should just do it my self and try to settle. The reason I am trying to do it by myself is because in the last 4 months I have spend around $10 thousand dollars for the other ADA case that we already settle a few months ago PLUS attorney fees , PLUS this attorney that I just hired a month ago.

    Thanks again and again.

    Felix
     
  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Come on, no one can tell you what you should do.

    If I were you, I'd hire a lawyer.

    I'm not much into self help.

    If I have a problem, I hire professionals, tradespeople, or craftspeople to fix my problems.

    But, that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
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  18. felixraxta

    felixraxta Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yea, thanks.
     

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