Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Irresponsible and destructive actions

A reader writes:
Your attack on Jennifer Gray in your latest brief is great. However, Gray was only representing your ex-wife. Can't it be argued that your ex-wife, not Gray, was responsible for most of "irresponsible and destructive actions" that you attack Gray for? Gray probably had no way of determining whether "unfounded allegations" were true or not.
Yes, my ex-wife is responsible for her court filings. It may well be that Ms. Gray was just carrying out the irresponsible and destructive wishes of her client. But that still leaves the question about why I should have to pay for it.

I don't think that it really matters whether my ex-wife or Ms. Gray was the main instigator of the irresponsible and destructive actions. Ms. Gray either knew what she was doing, or should have known, and should not be paid for it.

I am also not sure that it matters whether Ms. Gray knew all the facts related to those unfounded allegations. Ms. Gray charges $250 per hour for her time. (It went up from $225 per hour during the case.) She ran up a $54k bill trying to intervene in my divorce. She bases her claim on her skill and expertise. She had all the evidence when she got into the case, and none of it ever convinced the court that I was ever at fault about anything. Now she wants to get paid.

Usually, lawyers only have a chance of collecting attorney fees from the other side when they win the case. In family court, the judge has broad discretion, and can award attorney fees to a losing lawyer. But the lawyer who wants to get paid has to prove, at a minimum, that she did something worthwhile for the money. Merely making unfounded allegations that cannot be proved in court is not doing something worthwhile. It is destructive.

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