Good things are happening with this blog – I have joined Home Preservation Network as a blogger, and so many more eyes have read my words, thanks to Richard Zombeck, who is also a regular Huffington Post blogger. And, as an added benefit, his colleague, Martin Andelman of Mandelman Matters picked up one of my posts on his site, too. It is wonderful to make some connections out there who are really working hard to educate people and provide a voice for wronged homeowners and others adversely affected by the financial crisis. Thank you, Richard and Martin, for your support! Thanks to all the readers who have read, shared, and tweeted. It’s an amazing feeling to go from a readership in the double digits to the triple digits!
The waiting continues…. It’s a relief, yet a nuisance. I make plans and always they are contingent on “if I have to move”. This must be what Purgatory feels like – sitting in limbo. I wonder if Saddam felt like this – hunkered down, hoping no one would force him from his safe place, yet dreaming of living a beautiful life outside his underground box?
Most of what I have written has been about the Unlawful Detainer trial. I haven’t touched much upon the civil trial, so figure it’s time to address it, since things seem to be happening there. My attorney just filed another appeal in one of my two civil cases against my lender. Two civil cases? you may ask. Yes, two. Because of the inanity of my local court system and an incompetent lawyer.
See, this is where it pays to do your homework before hiring an attorney. I thought the guy was good. I didn’t know anything about researching the state Bar Association webpage. I was panicked, and no one I knew seemed to know any attorneys who specialized in foreclosure law. Then again, this was back in 2009. We are all much more knowledgeable now. So, anyways, I hired this guy who thought I had a great case, guaranteed sure-fire win, clear evidence of illegal procedures and fraud perpetrated upon yours truly.
We worked together for a while – a long while. Almost two years, to be exact. Just 3 months shy of our 2 year-anniversary, he called me up and told me that I needed to find another attorney. Needless to say, I was shocked. He continued, telling me that this was necessary because he just didn’t have the time to devote to my case, and needed to do the right thing by his clients.
Wow, what a nice guy, you might say. Nope. Not by a long shot. You see, just four weeks before this, he had called me, telling me that because we were getting into the discovery process, he and his team were going to be spending a lot of hours on my case. Therefore, I needed to pay him $10,000, or he would not move forward with it. Knowing that we had a deadline to meet with the courts led me to finally agree to pay. So, now four weeks later, when he told me I needed to find new representation, he said he would forgive all the monies I still owed him. Monies which he had never mentioned before, and certainly didn’t mention when he told me I needed to advance him $10,000!
As I mentioned before, he had entered nine counts, figuring the judge might dismiss four or five of them, but we’d still have several counts we could fight on. He initially dismissed four of them, leaving us five. Then, due to the judge making an error and dismissing my case, he knocked out two counts at that time, and never reinstated them. Then, after my attorney missed yet another deadline, the judge dismissed two more counts. I didn’t realize that. So, at the time this lawyer asked me to find a new attorney, there was only one count remaining. There was another issue pending at that moment that I was completely unaware of – a motion to compel discovery responses, because our responses were late. He had received the requests in September but didn’t notify me until December – after the deadline to respond had passed.
But after I discovered all this, his urgency to rid himself of me as his client made sense – if he continued as my attorney, I would lose my case, and could then sue him for malpractice.
The attorney who had been representing me in my Unlawful Detainer case offered to take over, even though he primarily specializes in post-foreclosure evictions. Between the two attorneys, they decided the best course of action would be to dismiss my civil suit, then file a completely new suit. Now, there are rules, of course, that disallow people from dismissing a suit then filing a new, similar suit. This is because someone could decide they didn’t like how their case was going, dismiss it, then file again, hoping to win this next time around. So the new suit had to be completely different.
One key point – the first suit was not suing to get my house back. Yep, you read it – my first attorney did not sue for me to regain ownership of my house. It never occurred to me all those times that I read through the suit for negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation, that a charge should have been entered to return title to my name. Not being an expert in the law, I didn’t know that if I had won that case, I would have received damages only, and not won my home back. Wouldn’t that have been a kicker? I would have won, but still lost my home!
After learning the civil suit was dismissed, and presumably after the office party celebrating yet another win, opposing council filed to take the case “off calendar”, meaning they agreed to the dismissal.
Imagine their surprise when I popped up again with a new lawsuit against them, and they realized they had popped the champagne corks a little too early. In short order, they filed a motion to re-open the first civil case, then filed to have the second dismissed on the grounds that it was too similar to the first case. Let me see – fraud, misrepresentation, negligence vs. quiet title, improper transfer. Okay, let’s let the judge decide.
To be continued….