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Violation of RPC 4.4 (threatening criminal charges)?

Discussion in 'Lawyers, Legal Practice, Ethics & the Bar' started by MC34, Aug 1, 2021.

  1. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Idaho
    I've had an ongoing property damage issue with a new neighbor/builder for the last few months. He has finally gone to a lawyer, and the lawyer sent me a letter falsifying well documented facts, and goes even further, accusing me of harassment, citing various parts of my state's criminal statute on malicious harassment. And then goes on to say "should legal action be necessary to enforce the above..." with "the above" referring to text he excerpted from the statute.

    RPC 4.4:
    "A lawyer shall not...threaten to present criminal charges in order to obtain advantage in a civil matter."

    Have I misunderstood, or is this lawyer in violation of the rule by citing a criminal harassment statute and then threatening legal action? I am the injured party, with a legitimate grievance. I sent 3 letters over the course of several months to the neighbor in an effort to avoid a lawsuit. All facts considered, I certainly believe I have a right to communicate with him whether he wants to hear it or not.

    Thank you for clarifying this rule for me.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I am in no position to know if you've misunderstood anything.

    Based solely on your revelations, I see nothing problematic in the attorney's correspondence.

    You might not know it, but you have no legal duty (neither does another person) to read routine correspondence. You also have no legal duty to respond to said correspondence.

    All informed adults are best advised to read and react as appropriate to all correspondence from a court.

    I suggest you consult an attorney in your county for specific legal advice and guidance.
     
  3. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok, thanks
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Where do you obtain the RIGHT to correspond with another human being, especially if the other human being does NOT want to hear, see, or read anything you wish to say, show, or exhibit?

    I'll save you some time, mate.

    In this country there is no such right that allows you to force your opinions, ideas, desires, wants, needs, etc... on those unwilling to read, see, observe, or listen to you.
     
  5. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Is there also no right to destroy another's property?
    Was I supposed to file a lawsuit against this individual the moment after the damage occurred without attempting to avoid the substantial cost of same?
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    1. Correct
    2.You file the suit when it becomes clear that the offending party will not fix/pay for the damage. You have been given notice that the offending party does not wish to communicate regarding this matter so now is the time to file suit. Make sure you bring all evidence of the alleged damage...photos, video, correspondence...etc.
     
  7. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Understood, there's mountains of evidence that refute each and every one of the lawyer's insidious comments in a ridiculous effort to scare me away.
     
  8. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    What was the damage caused? Does it exceed small claims court limit of $5k?
     
  9. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes it does.. I'm not seeking advice on the damage. I was just curious about the possibility of an RPC violation. According to the wording of the rule, it sounds like exactly what he did; threaten me with criminal charges (malicious harassment) to gain advantage in a property damage (civil) matter. But apparently, I'm wrong according to the super moderator.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If I were in your position, OP, I'd file a claim with the insurer of my home.

    The insurer will take care of the damage, and file a lawsuit against the offending party.

    That's why most people buy insurance, to attend to matters such as the one that is vexing you.
     
    justblue likes this.
  11. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Army Judge is an attorney. :)
     
  12. MC34

    MC34 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I've spoken with the insurance agent on the matter.. Not to get into it, but the damage occurred on his side of the property line but it affects mine (lateral support) I didn't mean to imply he wasn't or was an attorney.
     
  13. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    I know...I just wanted to make sure YOU knew that Judge was an attorney. Not everyone who volunteers here is, including me. :)
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I don't know because I've not read the actual letter and it matter very much exactly what it says. Certainly the lawyer may indicate that his client is willing to make a criminal harassment complaint if the alleged harassment continues. What matters is how, if at all, the lawyer tied that to your other dispute with the neighbor. Even if you are right about the claims you have about the neighbor's damage to your property, you aren't entitled to harass the neighbor over it.

    It's clear that the neighbor doesn't want to hear more of your complaints about it. You've let him know what your beef with him is and he chooses not to address it. So, as the others have said, it's time to go to court if you want to seek a legal remedy for this.
     
  15. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Understand that the lawyer is only stating what his client has told him/her.

    Do you have an expert willing to testify as to this matter, including how damage to his property is going to affect your property?
     
  16. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    At the risk of being Captain Obvious here, that would depend on the nature and the cause of the damage.

    Confucius say: Insurance policy like Swiss cheese. Many holes.

    Or maybe it was Charlie Chan.

    :D
     
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