What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

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Latest post Wed, Feb 27 2008 8:14 AM by tlee2. 10 replies.
  • Sun, Feb 24 2008 9:22 AM

    • tlee2
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    What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    Looking for advice/opinions. Slip & fall lawsuit from Nov.05.Husband fell at funeral in cemetary.Had to park 100ft or so away from grave site. 4+ inches of snow over what seemed to be ice.Husband fell and broke hip.Now after over 2 years lawyer called us in for meeting saying other side is trying to get this dismissed saying after sowfall they are allowed reasonable time to remedy situation.I understand that but I keep telling them it was not snowing anymore at 9:30 am when we went to funeral home.We got in cars for procession to cemetary at aprox.11:30 am,still no more snow.Isn't that ample time to plow and sand when you know you have a good amount of people coming to cemetary.It was only a matter of 1 straight road.At meeting I had to remind lawyer that caretaker,responsible for roads admitted in depo that protocal is to plow and sand roads for funerals,and that he asked guys that should have done it and they lied to him and said they had.I've given him 7 names of witnesses,and could have given all that were there,everyone agreed how bad conditions were.He has never talked to any of them. I say 2-3 hours was enought time to plow.They say it never stopped snowing in time.I'm getting the feeling hes not trying .Is there any recourse on our part?
  • Sun, Feb 24 2008 10:03 PM In reply to

    • Ford
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 16 2000
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    Feedback [*=*] Snow is visiable . . .

    Open and obvious dangers will quite often eliminate the injured person's potential recovery. Ask your attorney about your state's law on that.

    Ice under the snow - that's more difficult. It might be something that every person should know about.

    Not sure what you are expecting of your attorney. He can't make them settle the case. By dismissal I suspect the attorney means a motion for summary judgment. He can't stop them from filing that either and it gets fought in court. Usually through affidavits and such.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 1:37 AM In reply to

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    "lawyer called us in for meeting saying other side is trying to get this dismissed saying after sowfall they are allowed reasonable time to remedy situation.I understand that but I keep telling them it was not snowing anymore at 9:30 am when we went to funeral home."

    First of all, just because the "other side is trying to get this dismissed" doesn't mean it will be successful. Second, it really doesn't matter what you say to your lawyer. Presumably, the fact that it was not snowing at the time of the fall is undisputed. The issue, presumably, is whether the cemetery had a resonsibility to remove ice in winter from the particular area, and whether, if so, enough time had passed that it's failure to do so constituted negligence. Frankly, I don't see the latter as something that could be resolved other than by a jury at trial.

    "he asked guys that should have done it and they lied to him and said they had."

    Unless the person in charge had reason to believe that the employees had lied, this may be sufficient to discharge the cemetery's liability.

    "I've given him 7 names of witnesses,and could have given all that were there,everyone agreed how bad conditions were.He has never talked to any of them."

    Unless the cemetery disputes the conditions, interviews wouldn't be necessary. And, if the cemetery does dispute the conditions, if you have essentially told the lawyer what these folks are going to say, there's probably no need for him to interview them until it's absolutely necessary.

    "They say it never stopped snowing in time."

    OK...that creates a question of fact that should preclude any dismissal before trial ON THAT BASIS. However, if the basis on which the cemetery is seeking dismissal is that, accepting your version of the conditions as true, the caretaker's reliance on the employees' false statements discharged liability, then any dispute regarding the conditions isn't relevant to that issue.

    "I'm getting the feeling hes not trying .Is there any recourse on our part?"

    Regardless of anything I've said above, you're free to fire your lawyer and hire a new one. However, most of your post is about what the cemetery is claiming and what the cemetery is doing. With respect to your lawyer, all you've said is that he (a) communicated to you what the other side is doing, and (b) hasn't interviewed certain witnesses, and none of that speaks to whether he is or isn't doing a good job. What I would want to know is how the other side is "trying to get [the case] dismissed," and what your lawyer is planning on doing to prevent that result.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 1:39 AM In reply to

    Note [#=#] re: Snow is visable . . .

    I agree.

    However, it would be almost impossible to get a case like this dismissed on summary judgment based on contributory/comparative negligence or secondary assumption of the risk defense.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 8:52 AM In reply to

    • tlee2
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    • Joined on Tue, Mar 27 2007
    • Posts 17

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    Thanks for the input. From what I gather the other side is trying to say the cemetary did not have enough time to plow and sand before funeral procession got there,and I'm assuming by that they are saying it never stopped snowing. I being the driver to funeral home, and cemetary am saying it stopped snowing by 9:30am,and never started again till after the fall.We arrived at cemetary at aprox.11:45,and still no more snow.I'm saying over 2.5hrs to plow and sand when you know you have 25+ cars coming to cemetary is ample time. Im not sure what is meant by "dismissed",does that mean it is totally done and over with and we lose? I personally would love to go to court,just to describe the pain husband went through,and the things he couldn't do for weeks because of this. Thanks for any help.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 10:23 AM In reply to

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    "Im not sure what is meant by "dismissed",does that mean it is totally done and over with and we lose?"

    That means that the case is over and you lose AT THAT LEVEL.

    There is always the option of appealing the decision to a higher court.

    "I personally would love to go to court,just to describe the pain husband went through,and the things he couldn't do for weeks because of this."

    That has nothing to do with liability. It has to do with damages.

    Besides, if it got to that point you would not be permitted to testify to all of that, your husband would have because he's the one who experienced it. Any testimony you give would be limited to what you observed, not what he felt.


    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 11:04 AM In reply to

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    "From what I gather the other side is trying to say the cemetary did not have enough time to plow and sand before funeral procession got there,and I'm assuming by that they are saying it never stopped snowing."

    I'll assume "trying to say" means "saying" or "arguing." Certainly, the cemetery can take those positions no matter how vigorously you dispute them.

    "I'm saying over 2.5hrs to plow and sand when you know you have 25+ cars coming to cemetary is ample time."

    Your position in this regard is duly noted.

    "Im not sure what is meant by "dismissed",does that mean it is totally done and over with and we lose?"

    Yes.

    Again, I'm at a loss to understand why you think your lawyer isn't doing his job. Don't get me wrong -- he may not be. It's just that you haven't given US any good reason for feeling that way. I suggest, perhaps, that you (a) ask him for clarification any time he tells you something you don't understand, and (b) pose to him the questions I mentioned in my prior post.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 12:27 PM In reply to

    • tlee2
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    • Joined on Tue, Mar 27 2007
    • Posts 17

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    I am just going by the recent meeting,and the way things seemed to go downhill. At one time he was very optimistic about this case.Then he told us about the dismissal and I asked questions and mentioned what the caretaker said in the depo about the normal procedure is to plow and sand,and he wasn't sure why it did not get done.The lawyers comment was "maybe I should look that over" I just felt that being an experienced lawyer shouldn't he already be looking for anything and everything to save this case, I've also been wondering why they waited all this time to do this.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 4:49 PM In reply to

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    "At one time he was very optimistic about this case."

    That'll happen. Litigating civil cases isn't an exact science. It's certainly not uncommon for reasonable minds, both of whom know the law, to view the same set of facts in very different lights. It may be that the judge has made rulings up to this point that have dampened your lawyer's enthusiasm, or it may be that certain facts haven't been quite what were expected. Speaking from the other side of the desk, I would think the most important thing for any client would be to make sure he/she understands WHY his/her lawyer views the case in a particular light or why a lawyer has had a change of thought regarding outcome.

    "Then he told us about the dismissal"

    If the other side is only TRYING to get the case dismissed, then it hasn't happened yet.

    "I asked questions and mentioned what the caretaker said in the depo about the normal procedure is to plow and sand,and he wasn't sure why it did not get done."

    The reality is that every lawyer has a lot of facts rolling around in his/her brain. Your case is the only case you're involved in. That's not to say your lawyer isn't devoting an appropriate amount of attention to your case. It may simply be that these facts weren't right on the top of his head. There's a line from the 3rd Indiana Jones movie where Harrison Ford is upset that his father (Sean Connery) doesn't know a particular detail off the top of his head. Connery responds by saying, "That's why I wrote it down! So I wouldn't HAVE TO remember it."

    As I said before (although with a big typo), I'm not saying he isn't screwing up -- he might be. What I'm trying to do is offer plausible explanations for the things that are causing you concern and provide you with some information that you can use to get more information from your lawyer.
  • Mon, Feb 25 2008 5:35 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    "I am just going by the recent meeting,and the way things seemed to go downhill."

    Injury cases often turn in the opposite direction during the course of the litigation.

    Doesn't mean that your lawyer isn't doing his job.

    The slide downhill might be so far beyond his control that channelling Clarence Darrow or Johnny Cochran wouldn't help.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Wed, Feb 27 2008 8:14 AM In reply to

    • tlee2
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 27 2007
    • Posts 17

    re: What to do when lawyer doesn't seem to be doing his job?

    Your right, the dismissal has not happened yet.The lawyer mentioned a time frame of 3 weeks and it appears our defense is proving that it had stopped snowing for hours and they did have time to plow.I have no clue as to how to prove that other than witnesses,including myself. I guess its a wait and see,and pray.Thanks for all your input.You've probably heard this before but we really aren't the type to sue.I was just so mad at the pain husband went through(still does) and how it threw our lives into a tailspin all because someone couldn't be bothered to do something needed and not that difficult to be done.Again,thanks to all,and keep your fingers crossed , please !!
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