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Hey Guys,

What do I do when my amended complaint was due in July, I'm inside the 180 day to trial and my attorney, after 5 months tells me that he is too busy to continue representation?  He has everything going for him.  The judge has ruled in our favor every time we have been before him.  The attorney has our case nailed.  We have extremely large damages.  I am completely organized.

We had a status hearing last Thursday, of which I found out about on Wednesday by email.  In his email, the attorney told me his decision and said nothing would change his mind. 

In the hearing, he took full responsibility for being late and said he would try to find us new representation.  He has a good relationship with the judge and the judge did not reprimand and gave him and me 30 days.  If I don't find representation the judge said I could make an appearance pro se.

I have to tell everyone that my case is extremely strong!  What in the world should I think and do about this?

I would really appreciate some opinions and some thoughts regarding course of action.  I am clueless?

I'm in Tennessee.  If any attorney out there would like to earn a few bucks, send me an email and we'll talk.

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Joe B

In my opinion there is more to this story. You need to meet with the partners at this firm and find out "the rest of the story" right away. Whatever it is, you NEED to know what is going on. There is no way an attorney risks his reputation like this, so find out. You have every right to know, and you should insist on it.

As a separate and equal path, you need to find representation at once. Ask this firm for suggestions, and start digging FAST!!

Do not under any circumstances represent yourself no matter how ironclad your plan is, and orderly your paperwork! Any hole you are in now will only get deeper and wider exponentially if you fly solo!

You should also investigate what options you have to get an extension due to the change in representation. Ask your current lame duck lawyer to do this--30 days isn't enough. Get this done at once!

This is my opinion... Good luck!

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Nye Lavalle
Warned you before, but I smell a BIG RAT!!!!
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Way To Go
Did you have a written retainer agreement with this lawyer?  And if you did have a formal agreement, was it on a contingency or fee basis?  You might want to call your local bar association for some insight.

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4 justice now

My guess is that the defendants may have found some dirty laundry hanging out there, or they may have decided to buy your lawyer an early Christmas gift, or possibly they made him an offer he just couldn't afford to refuse. No matter what happened, it certainly doesn't seem ethical for him to end his representation at a time that would put your case at risk. BTW: I agree with both Nye and JB. Something isn't right at all. If you try to represent yourself, it may turn out to be just the excuse they are looking for to invalidate your claim, as the judge may have already decided your case in advance.

I'm sure Mike and/or some others here will have some excellent advise for you shortly. Please keep us apprised.

Best of luck!



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4 justice now

I had meant to mention the following observations, which I'm sure are already very obvious to you:

Besides, all the other extremely obvious clues, it's very odd that an attorney would notify his client via an email of his intent to end his representation.

Also, I think it's quite unusual that any judge would ever suggest that a plaintiff represent his or herself, especially in a case that has such high stakes, as I assume yours' does.



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Sorry Bob.  That is just awful.

Get the new lawyer search started tomorrow morning.

Write the attorney and request that he return your file to you by
messenger ASAP.

If you can't find a lawyer, don't be afraid to file the amended complaint

This is easy if you are merely adding to the list of defendants like adding a
Bear Stearns or some other corporation.

If you are adding issues it is much the same.

Get the complaint printed out so you can write on it to make the changes
adding or deleting information.

My take on the judge is that he thinks you can do it satisfactorily for him.
He realizes that you've just lost your attorney at a bad time.  This is different than a pro se trying to force it onto the court.

If you can get to the court again easily.  Go.
Ask the court clerk if you could have a copy of the calendar for a couple
of days.  You can see who shows up in this court on behalf of plaintiffs.
That might be a useful tool.  Maybe you could get it by phone request.

Start calling the guys that practice in that court.

That is a start anyway. 

Sorry you are going through this.


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Sorry to hear that Bob...You might want to send your attorneys an email regarding his email to you.
Dee's ideas sound good, you might want to look into that ASAP.
Way to go, said check out the BAR for your state regarding this kind of thing. that's a good idea also. Ask for your files ASAP. make sure you print all the emails.
Good Luck!
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File a formal complaint with the State of Tennessee's Disciplinary Committee and if he is admitted to practice before the local U.S. District Court you should copy them too. They have an administrator that maintains the records of attorneys admitted to practice before the federal bar. The pendency of a complaint filed with authorities may prohibit him from practicing before the federal courts.

If it makes you feel any better, I have experienced the same thing with attorneys failing to object to evidence or failing to admit contradicting evidence that impeaches evidence admitted by the opposite side. You are better off without him since he would probably do all of the aformentioned things to you at trial. Then you would have to unravel that by yourself.

They want you to settle. Let me did most of the work and provided most of the documentary evidence that hung the other side out to dry ....right??

It sounds like a classic case of breach of contract....on purpose...hoping you'll get cold feet when confronted with a judge that is demanding that you conduct the trial pro you'll settle and let the criminal fraudsters off the hook....don't do it....

If the judge doesn't provide you with a ruling that disallows your attorney's withdrawal from the may have to go to trial with this attorney....and you'lll have to meet with him to assure yourself that he will follow the script that you're going to have to draft for the proper conduct of a trial that admits the evidence you've amassed and impeaches the evidence and testimony that the other side will have to bring to prevail. There is plenty of law regarding such attorney misconduct and if you've not provided him with a legitimate reason for him to breach the agreement...then go to the local law library and conduct a computer search for recent cases for legal malpractice...then find out who the law firm was that brought the action for the victimized party in the U.S. District Court against the attorney accused of malpractice. They can advise you whether the case law in your state supports an action against this lawyer and his firm....and don't forget to inform his law partners if he has any...since their practice may be adversely impacted by the threatened action.
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