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Unethical lawyer/disparagment issue

Discussion in 'Lawyers, Legal Practice, Ethics & the Bar' started by Lawfighter, May 8, 2019.

  1. Lawfighter

    Lawfighter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Texas
    I'm a defendant in a civil case concerning tortious interference with a business contract here in Texas. The business "I interfered with" was an oil and gas scam operation. The evidence of fraud is very obvious. The plaintiff is under investigation by multiple enforcement agencies...at a slow pace. The plaintiff/oil promoter is trying to harass me and shut me up by suing me so he can go down the road and continue his operations. The plaintiff has a long history of cease and desist orders, bankruptcies, civil fraud judgment, etc...My goal was to protect investors from further losses. Thus..."I interfered".
    The plaintiff has an attorney who represents himself as an oil & gas fraud attorney on his website and yet here he is...representing an oil and fraud scammer. To date they have not met deadlines for mediation and discoveries. They continue to harass and cost me money. After 1 1/2 years their request for damages is down from $1M to $0. However, they want me to sign a non-disparagement agreement.
    I DO NOT plan to sign a non-disparagement agreement. I DO plan on filing a grievance with the Texas Bar Association. I DO plan on publicly letting the world know about the truth and government records behind the plaintiff.
    Does anyone have any further suggestions? It's very sad that our judicial system is designed to allow this process to occur.
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    What type of "suggestions" are you looking for? Are you represented by an attorney?
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Waste of time. Your enemy's lawyer is not your lawyer. Whatever he is doing he is doing as a representative of his client and he's doing it quite well if he's wearing you down.

    And add a defamation charge to the current action?

    If you can't prove yourself in court, then keep your mouth shut out of court.
     
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  4. Lawfighter

    Lawfighter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes...I do have an attorney. It took him a little while to understand that I was not willing to pay the plaintiff and sign a non-disparagement agreement. This seems to be "the norm" in these situations. My fight has been a time consuming and expensive process. BTW...the plaintiff has A LOT of unpaid judgments against him. So a solution involving a judgment against him is pointless. He has a $2.5M+ judgment from the State of Colorado...among many others.

    Are there any faster and less expensive paths to get this lawsuit dismissed? Are there outside paths besides a State Bar complaint? Are there any organizations that financially assist people in these situations? I consider this a form of extortion being applied by the plaintiff and his attorney.

    We tried an anti-SLAPP motion that didn't get heard. We have filed a motion for sanctions and were asking for a dismissal until the judge granted a continuance. So the story will now continue. There is some pressure on the plaintiff from other issues involved that may help but so far has not.
     
  5. Lawfighter

    Lawfighter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I can definitely prove myself in court...no problem there. They at first filed a defamation charge and later dropped it when the plaintiff was identified as a true convicted felon who did not disclose that issue in his Offering Memorandums.
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    You have an attorney that has access to ALL documents...which we do not. Ask your question(s) to your attorney.
     
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  7. Lawfighter

    Lawfighter Law Topic Starter New Member

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  8. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Did you ask your attorney about reporting this to the State Bar? What did S/He tell you?
     
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  9. Lawfighter

    Lawfighter Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My attorney had no comment. I did describe the entire case to a professor who teaches law in Houston. He said I should definitely file a complaint. He and another attorney have told me NOT to file a non-disparagement agreement.
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Then what do you need us for?
     
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  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you are unsure whether your concerns with an attorney involve professional misconduct, in most states you can call or email the disciplinary office and discuss the matter prior to submitting a written complaint.

    The Texas State Bar's toll-free Grievance Information Helpline (1-800-932-1900) can assist you in determining whether you report the conduct of the lawyer, or if other resources might be beneficial.

    The written rules of professional conduct for lawyers are contained in the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (for misconduct occurring on or after January 1, 1990).

    Copies of the rules may be obtained free of charge by coming by any one of our 10 offices, or can be mailed to you for a $5.00 postage and handling fee.

    Please call 1-800-932-1900 for the location of our nearest office or mail your postage and handling fee along with name and address to State Bar of Texas, Office of the General Counsel, P.O. Box 12487, Austin, Texas 78711-2487.

    The rules may also be found in the Texas Government Code (Title 2, Subtitle G-Appendix A, Article 10, section 9), available in most law libraries.

    https://www.texasbar.com/AM/Templat...mplate=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=23454

    Anyone who believes that a rule of professional conduct has been violated may file a complaint with the State Bar.

    The State Bar will then examine the complaint and determine whether an actual violation is claimed.

    Not all disputes or disagreements with lawyers involve professional misconduct, but if you believe misconduct under the rules has occurred, you should file a complaint.

    Q:__What can happen to an attorney who commits professional misconduct?

    A:__The State Bar punishes lawyers who commit professional misconduct. The nature of the punishment will vary with the seriousness of the misconduct and other factors. Punishment may include private or public reprimands, suspension or disbarment.

    Q:__How long do I have to file a complaint?

    A:__In most cases, you have four years from the time the misconduct occurred to file a complaint.

    Q:__What happens after I file a complaint?

    A:__Your grievance form will be reviewed by the General Counsel's staff, who will determine whether the conduct you described, if taken as true, involves professional misconduct. If it does, a copy of your complaint will be sent to the lawyer you complained about. He or she then has 30 days to respond to the State Bar in writing. If the conduct you describe is not professional misconduct, you may appeal the dismissal, re-file your complaint with more information, or you may be referred to alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation) or to a local fee dispute committee. Again, it is important to remember that not every dispute or disagreement with a lawyer involves professional misconduct and, therefore, some complaints will be dismissed at this stage.

    Q:__If the conduct I complained about alleges professional misconduct, what happens next?

    A:__An investigatory hearing will be held by a panel of the local grievance committee of the State Bar. You can expect that the grievance committee will listen to and ask questions of both the lawyer and you. Hearings are usually informal and the procedures will be explained to you.

    Q:__How long will the investigatory hearing take?

    A:__The time it takes to process a complaint varies, but an investigatory hearing will generally be held within 30 days of the attorney's response to your complaint. If the grievance committee feels that your complaint requires further investigation, the hearing will probably be continued at a future date, after the investigation is complete. You will be invited to appear at each hearing, although your testimony may not always be necessary.

    Q:__How will I know what the grievance committee decides?

    A:__You will be notified in writing of the committee's decision.

    Q:__If I disagree with the result reached at the investigatory hearing, can I appeal?

    A:__If any member of the panel at your hearing felt that there was "just cause" to believe that misconduct occurred, you will be notified that you have a right to a new hearing with a different panel of the same committee. No member of the first panel can serve on the second panel. You will be invited to attend the second hearing. The decision of the second panel is not appealable.

    Q:__If the grievance committee decides that professional misconduct has occurred, what happens next?

    A:__The grievance committee will first try to reach an agreement with the attorney regarding an appropriate punishment. If no agreement can be reached, the complaint then goes either to an evidentiary panel of the grievance committee for a final decision or to state district court.

    Q:__What types of punishment can be agreed upon by the grievance committee and the lawyer respondent?

    A:__The forms of punishment which may be agreed upon include: (1) a reprimand, which may be public or private; (2) suspension, all or part of which may be probated; (3) disbarment, which means revocation of the attorney's license to practice law; or (4) resignation in lieu of discipline, which has the same effect as disbarment.

    Q:__How will I know what kind of punishment has been agreed upon?

    A:__You will be notified in writing. If there is a private reprimand, you will be notified of your duty not to reveal that reprimand. At each major step in the process, you will receive from the State Bar a written explanation of what has occurred.

    Q:__If the grievance committee and the lawyer cannot agree on an appropriate punishment, what happens next?

    A:__If a punishment cannot be agreed upon, the next step is an evidentiary hearing, unless the lawyer chooses to have the case heard in state district court. In either case, the complaint now becomes public. An evidentiary hearing is similar to a trial, except that another panel of the grievance committee will hear the evidence. Evidence may include your testimony, the lawyer's testimony, if he or she chooses to testify, and possibly the testimony of additional witnesses. If the lawyer chooses instead to go to court, the case will be tried within 180 days from the time suit is filed with the court.

    Q:__If I disagree with the result reached at the evidentiary hearing, can I appeal?

    A:__Yes. An appeal from an evidentiary hearing may be made to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals by you, the lawyer, or the General Counsel of the State Bar.

    Q:__What is the Client Security Fund?

    A:__The Client Security Fund is a fund created from State Bar dues and other State Bar revenue. Under certain circumstances, clients may be eligible for financial relief from this source. If you feel that your lawyer has stolen your money, please call 1-800-204-2222, ext. 2304 and request a brochure explaining the Client Security Fund. If you feel that you qualify for relief, request an application. Payments from the fund are not made in instances of disputes over the amount of legal fees, dissatisfaction with the results achieved by the attorney, situations where no actual loss of clients funds has occurred and legal malpractice.

    Q:__What is the difference between professional misconduct and malpractice?

    A:__Though not a legal definition, the basic difference is that professional misconduct refers to a violation of the rules of professional conduct discussed above, while legal malpractice is lawyer negligence as defined by law. Professional misconduct is subject to punishment under the State Bar's disciplinary process, while questions of legal malpractice are frequently resolved by a lawsuit by the client against the attorney. It is possible to commit professional misconduct, but not legal malpractice, and vice-versa.

    Q:__What if I have other questions about the disciplinary process?

    A:__If you have any further questions, please feel free to call our toll-free number or write the General Counsel's Office at the address below.

    Office of the General Counsel
    State Bar of Texas
    P.O. Box 12487
    Austin, Texas 78711-2487
    (512) 463-1463
    1-800-932-1900 (toll-free)
     
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