Thursday, June 07, 2007

Reader argues that lawyers should be paid

Mike responds to my last post:
"an appeal court might understand that attorney fees for losing legal work may not be justified"

I doubt it. Gray probably didn't take the case on a contingency basis. So whatever time she's billed for, it's time she claims she spent on the case and for which she should be reimbursed. Show me one case where the lawyers didn't get paid for losing where a contingency agreement wasn't part of the deal. There may be many reasons for not paying her, but I can't see her "losing" as being one of them.
You have a point. Scooter Libby has to pay Ted Wells, even tho he lost the case. That is because Libby contracted to pay Wells, win or lose.

But I have no contract with Jennifer Gray. She contracted with my ex-wife based on promises that she would get the money from me. A written contingency fee contract is considered unethical in family court, but it happens all the time.

There is no issue of reimbursement. Gray's law firm (Bosso et al) wants to get paid, an and it is not expecting my ex-wife to pay. It wants the money from me, and Gray has sworn that her services have justified her exorbitant fees.

California law says that a family court can order an ex-spouse to pay attorney fees and costs in order to ensure a parity of legal representation in the action, based on the relative circumstances of the parties. My ex-wife is a lawyer herself, and I am not a lawyer and was not even using a lawyer, so it is not so clear how I would have any obligation to pay her lawyer.

Here is what my ex-wife said in her April 28, 2006 brief:
In determining the amount of a §2030 need-based fees and costs award, this Court must consider what is 'just and reasonable" under the parties' "relative circumstances" and must base its determination on the parties' respective incomes and needs, and "any factors affecting" their respective abilities. Fain. C. §2030(a)(2) and §2032(a).

In addition to considering the parties' needs and abilities to pay in fixing the amount of a 'just and reasonable' fee award, the trial court must also take into account the following ten factors:

1 . Nature and complexity of the litigation;
2. Amount involved;
3. skill required and employed in handling the litigation;
4. attention given;
5. success of counsel's efforts;
6. respective attorneys' professional standing and reputation;
7. intricacies and importance of the litigation;
8. labor and necessity for skilled legal training and ability in trying the case;
9. litigation costs already incurred and expected to be incurred through conclusion of the case; and
10. time consumed.

(Marriage of Keech 75 CA4th 860, 870 (1999); Marriage of Braud 45 CA4th 797, 827 (1996); Marriage of O'Conner 59 CA4th 877, 884 (1997).

Accordingly, the attorneys of record may testify directly as to the issues involved, the work performed and the rates charged, as well as to special qualifications justifying a larger fee- i.e., length of time admitted to practice, etc. Marriage of McQuoid 9 CA4th 1353, 1361 (1991) ("Counsel's statements to the court were sufficient to establish the value of his services") Jennifer J. Gray, Ms. AngryMom's former attorney, submitted a sworn declaration along with this motion, addressing every factor above, showing that the attorney's fees incurred were indeed just and reasonable. (Attached hereto as Exhibit 'T" is the Declaration of Jennifer J. Gray in Support of Petitioner’s Points and Authorities in Support of Petitioner's Motion for (1) Need-Based Attorney's Fees; (2) Family Code §271 Attorney's Fees Sanctions; and (3) Appellate Attorney's Fees)
Gray submitted a declaration with factual allegations for each of the above ten points that the court is supposed to consider. If I somehow owe the money without consideration of those factual issues, then she didn't need to submit that declaration. But she did, and I have a right to rebut her claims.

All I am saying is that the court should not just unquestionably accept Gray's lies. If she makes allegedly factual claims to the court in support of me being ordered to pay her money, then I should have an opportunity to rebut them.

Comm. Irwin Joseph refused to give me any such opportunity. Gray was sitting right there in the courtroom, representing another fool client. He just gave her a free pass, and ordered me to pay the $10k. He acted as if he just didn't want to embarrass Gray.

That is why I appealed. I think that Comm. Joseph should have given me the chance to rebut Gray's lies, if he was going to rely on those lies to order me to pay money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Angrydad:

I have had similar problems in the past with Cmr. Joseph - he makes up his mind before he hears testimony.

He appears to decide cases based upon his perception of who is less cooperative. How does he make THAT determination? Simple. Whoever appears angry is the less cooperative party (even if the party is angry because the other side has ripped them off, lied, slandered, committed perjury and fraud).

He cut my trial short while I was trying to introduce into evidence the proof of fraud and perjury that the ex committed. He didn't want to hear it. Then, CJ decided that he had not leaned over backward enough so he invited the ex to write him letters if he did not understand or had any questions or comments about the proceedings and the Findings and Orders After Hearing. Then CJ agreed to hear the ex's Motion for Reconsideration, after fully acknowledging that the Motion was without merit. CJ then decided that ex's testimony (the same ex who admitted committing perjury) waws more credible than mine.

Commissioner Irwin Joseph is incompetent, biased, and a complete idiot.

But don't take my word for it.

Thankfully, I no longer have a case in Santa Cruz. Got a venue change 7 years after moving away. It's about freaking time.

Good luck.