Los Angeles, CA asked in Contracts and Legal Malpractice for California

Q: Who do I sue?

If a law firm employee has admitted in court to forging my signature on a fee agreement of terms that were 4 times higher than what I agreed to in the actual fee agreement....do I sue the employee or the attorney?

The court did order all fees (over $30k be refunded to me) but that still does not make things right.

My money was withheld from me for over one year, I was lied to and humiliated by my attorney who accused me of lying about the forgery until the employee finally confessed. Trying to navigate the legal process and refusing to “let it go” like my friends and family advised because of the stress it created in nearly every aspect of my life. I refused to be called a liar and to allow the firm to get away with stealing my money. That part has been proven.

But what about what I went thru for the past year? What about the expenses I had to pay...messenger fees, pacer account fees, postage, gas, hotel...not to mention the tremendous amount of emotional stress

Related Topics:
3 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If a law firm forged your signature, then a complaint to the State Bar is warranted. It is possible that the law firm is responsible for your damages, i.e., what you lost as a direct result of the fraud. That would include the principal, interest, and potentially emotional distress. It does not include your expenses incurred in pursuing your case, unless awarded as a matter of costs. Also, it seems that there has been some type of legal proceeding concerning this issue. It is possible that you were legally obligated to bring all of your claims forward at the same time. You might not be able to come back for another bite at the apple. Consult with a legal malpractice attorney for a real analysis of your potential claims.

Kenneth Sisco
Kenneth Sisco
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Norco, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: There are a lot of missing facts here, but I agree completely with your refusal to "let it go." The issue here is too important. At a minimum, you should go to the Bar Association, and consult with an attorney to help you sort it all out.

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: much more info needed.

it sounds like both criminal prosecution and the state bar should get involved.

i can not comment on value of case without all the facts. However a legal malpractice attorney "might" be interested. It does sound like the attorney was a victim too.

remember you can always file in small claims court and sue for up to $10,000,

however, having sat as a judge pro tem in small claims i always like it when the plaintiff prepared a detailed summary demand and sent to defendant. When the D does not respond that will be considered by all parties.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.