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Gerald Gould Knapton

Gerald Knapton’s Answers

81 total

  • What is the penalty for knowingly filing a false declaration?

    False declaration made by attorney.

    Gerald’s Answer

    Mr. Marshall is correct IF the lawyer actually signed something called a "declaration" and IF it has the usual words that it is signed "under penalty of perjury" AND if the lawyer really actualy knew that what he was saying was not true.
    It is almost never that simple though.
    And what the lawyer REALLY knew at the time of signature is hard to prove.
    Think about this for a bit and be sure that you can prove these elements before you go any further, please.

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  • Professional Rules of Conduct in California, there is a Civility Code, may a paralegal working for an attorney use profanity?

    Paralegal making phone calls and writing emails which include the use profanity. Paralegal also making threats and trespassing on defendants property. Attorney is copied in on all correspondence and encourages the paralegals unlawful behavior. ...

    Gerald’s Answer

    Profanity while not very profesional is quite frequent and not a violation of the ehtical rules.
    Threats and trespassing is another thing altogether.
    Make a complaint to the CA State Bar and copy the paralegal and the lawyer.


    They will open a case and investigate.

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  • If I win a legal case, does the losing party pay my attorney

    attorney will charge only if case is settled or wins

    Gerald’s Answer

    Maybe! (Nothing is that easy, is it?)
    The American Rule is that each side must pay its own lawyers UNLESS there is a fee-shifting statute or an attorney's fee clause in a written agreement.
    There are MANY of these and you need to ask your lawyer if there is one in your matter.
    Many times an attorney will take a case on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they get paid a precentage if they win.
    BUT even so there are many types of cases that are taken on a contingency fee basis that also have "fee-shifting" language as well.
    IF there is fee-shifting language or fee-shifting statute and you lose then you can expect to see an application for legal fees from the other side against YOU to get paid.
    So....ask your lawyer about all this. Take notes. Be careful.....

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  • If is unethical for an attorney to tell my spouse that I am getting advice for a divorce?

    I went to an attorney to retain them for a divorce and the attorney said they could not take my case because of a conflict of interest (he represented my inlaws in business transactions). Then, the attorney went and told my husband that I was seek...

    Gerald’s Answer

    The way you describe it certainly makes it sound unethical. An attorney owes a duty of confidentiality to even someone consulting about the possibility of a retention.
    Of course it is possible that the attorney merely mentioned that you called him about something and he wanted to represent you if the in-laws would agree to waive any possible conflict and when they did not agree he then told you he could not take the matter.
    If it bothers you and you are in some danger as a result you should call the police to get protection and then when that is taken care of then file a complaint with the State Bar about this attorney and they will investigate.

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  • My Attorney billed me his fee for services done by his Paralegal, and services that he did not provide at all. What can I do?

    My Attorney sent me an invoice that I believe was padded. He billed me at his rate for work done by his Paralegal, and also charged me for serving documents which I had to have served myself because he did not do it. I have pointed these things ...

    Gerald’s Answer

    Try to make a deal that you think is OK. Back out the time for the work that you did and figure the paralegal's time at $100 per hour. Deduct another 5% to 10%. Offer to pay that amount. Fighting with an attorney over the charges is not any fun. If he is really threatening to sue you it does not sound too good for the relationship. Why not ask him to meet you ("off the clock") and have a cup of coffee and work this out.
    Keep in mind that a client who watches the bills VERY carefully will almost always pay less for legal services than one who just pays. There is a lot of "dead time" in our line of work and the temptation to bill it to a client who doesn't read the bill before paying it is quite high for some lawyers. Keep on watching the bills!

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  • Lawyer's should sign an NDA?

    Sorry for this question, but i heard that lawyers can't sign an NDA. if a have an idea and i want to hire an attorney for writing, drafting and filling a patent for me . should he signed me an NDA before i tell him my idea. thanks

    Gerald’s Answer

    Best to be careful and get the NDA signed but as Mr. Fink notes it will have to allow the patent lawyer to disclose all necessary information to the USPTO.

    Try to keep the non disclosure agreement as simple as you can. Most American patent law shops are very proud of their reputations and disclosing your secrets would be unusual.

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  • Can the president of the Bar Association represent the other party?

    I recently discovered, the president of the Bar Association was the attorney for the other party. My attorney never mentioned this fact and failed to represent me, as agreed.

    Gerald’s Answer

    Your have two questions in your posting.
    California lawyers often chair Bar committees, and serve as governors and presidents of the State Bar. This gives them a certain status but does not make them in conflict with other lawyers or clients merely by reason of their service. Thus the falure to not mention this is not a big deal of of no consequence.
    The "failure to represent you as agreed" part of your question needs more facts for an analysis of your possible claim.
    What did the lawyer agree to do and what was the failure?

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  • My attorney fails to communicate with me. I have sent him repeated e-mails, with no response. What can I do?

    My attorney fails to communicate with me. I have sent several e-mails and when he does answer, he is very rude. There was a settlement offer, but my attorney has failed to pursue this offer...which has been almost 2 months since it was presented...

    Gerald’s Answer

    Figure out who the managng partner is of the law office and telephone that person to ask them to help you. Be nice! Do not whine! Explain that you need some help. Call regularly. Be nice. No snide remarks.
    Be persisitent.
    Make written notes to yourself of who and when you called and the time.
    Do this once a day. About the asme time, say 10:30 a.m.ish
    Be nice. Don't whine.... (You get the idea).
    Hang in there!

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  • I need a lawyer that has won in court against another. Is there a way to research this?

    We have a trust situation where all our Lawyers are saying the other side cannot do what they are doing. We are looking for a lawyer that has come up against another one and won.

    Gerald’s Answer

    Interesting and very tough issue. IF you have a Lexis account you may be able to research this using their court documents search. The L.A. Daily Journal also has a search ability for court documents that allows searching by type of motion or case. Both of these cost quite bit.
    If you have a trust lawyer you can pay them to look for the information you seek.
    Look at the Trust & Estates Section of the State Bar and see if you can reach out to them for help on the issue and see who seems knowledeable.
    You can also look for the issue in appellate opinions and even try the Google Scholar search engine which is at

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  • Is it conflict of interest?

    If a law firm has defended a client who was in litigation with me, and that law firm got very private informations about me during that litigation process, can they represent another client who I am planing to sue next? Is this conflict of intere...

    Gerald’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Sounds like "the cat is out of the bag" as far as your secret vis-a-vis that law firm goes. Unless the information was disclosed pursuant to a very strict protective order that is still in effect and which provided that the firm getting access to the protected information would not use it or not represent anyone adverse to the disclosing party (you) in another litigation.

    There does not seem to be any way to prevent the law firm from representing the other client on a true "conflicts" basis as far as I know. Of course there MIGHT be mediation privileges or other restrictions that work to confine the information's use - but generally once the information is known by the law firm they can and MUST use it to help their client once you sue them.

    The only way that might work is this: You could call the law firm up and ask them to represent you and during that call disclose information that is material and confidential to the proposed litigation and then if that same law firm tried to represent the other client there might be grounds to disqualify the firm.

    This seems very unlikely to succeed.

    Maybe you should let this go and move on to other fights.

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