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How can I get the public record of my dismissed case removed?

Royal Oak, MI |

My husband filed for divorce and within 2 weeks he had the case dismissed. The divorce was filed due to unethical behavior by my husbands attorney. We have filed a grievance against the attorney with the state bar.

However, is there any way to get the record of the case deleted from the court website? It is public record and we do not want people to be able to search our last name and see that. My husband wouldn't have filed if wasn't given false information, and he never gave the attorney permission to file in the first place (he only had a consultation with the lawyer).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

I would need specifics, but generally the court's records are not modified. In your,case you might be able to have the record sealed so at least the details of the case will not be available to the public.

To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an appointment. My PRELIMINARY answer to your question(s) is for general purposes and based upon what little information you have conveyed. It is based on such limited information that the general answer should never be relied as a reason for your action or inaction. My response does NOT establish an attorney-client relationship and such may only be established by mutual agreement, and the signing of a written retainer agreement, which will generally require payment for our services, as this is what we do for a living and, just like you, we must get paid for our work.. .

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8 comments

Asker

Posted

Is that something the courts do when asked? Or is that something we need to hire a lawyer to do?

John F. Brennan

John F. Brennan

Posted

Most probably you will need an attorney, and the one who filed the case without permission comes to mind as an ideal candidate

Asker

Posted

That would be nice, since he has already taken thousands of dollars from us that he did not earn. But he has stopped work on our case (before he had done all we were billed for) and asked us not to contact him any more. Thus, why we filed the grievance. We don't have the money to hire another lawyer and are leery to say the least.

John F. Brennan

John F. Brennan

Posted

I am then unable to assist you, as I, like yourselves, do not and cannot work for free and still feed my family. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

I was not asking you to assist me. I was only asking for advice on this website. I would have contacted you if I wanted you to assist me. Also, I am an M.D. and work to feed my family, but also work for free to help those in need or those that have been taken advantage of by other professionals in my field. I consider that my professional and human duty. But I also understand that not everyone has the same values as me.

John F. Brennan

John F. Brennan

Posted

Then . I guess, if you were correct about my motives and professionalism I would never have answered you query. I do not believe it is my proper function to pay for another's transgressions, especially as you are clearly seeking your due yourself. I have done more than my share of pro bono work, but only for those who need it , cannot pay for it and, most of all do not believe it is somehow due them, but are actually appreciative.

Asker

Posted

Actually, I am not seeking my due. I am filing a grievance to protect the general public against this attorney. If I were seeking my due, I would be suing him. You actually answered my question in hopes that I would hire you, hence your comment that you could not assist me, when I was only asking for advice. Further, you have no idea about my situation and my appreciation of others work. For you to make the assumptions you made without knowing anything about the tribulations of our family is completely unprofessional and rude.

John F. Brennan

John F. Brennan

Posted

I apologize for any wrongful assumptions, if the attorney has wronged you he should be grieved, disaplined and perhaps disbarred. If he has harmed you he should be made to compensate you for the damages his error caused Review my first response and you will see I did not solicit your business, and, understand, that attorneys are compensated for advise and counsel alone, and which are perhaps most valuable if they avoid or prevent precipitous and unnecessary litigation. As for your seeking to protect the public by filing a grievance, it is doubtful that will due much good as grievances and their result get little notice outside of the legal community. How many bar disaplinary actions are you aware of. Trust me that the public has very little awareness of legal (or medical) professional disciplinary actions. Grieve him if he has violated his professional duties, but it will only be for your sake and that of my profession, very little benefit to the public at large. If you want to protect the public express you disappointment and your opinion publicly, counseling with an attorney before as to how that can be accomplished minimizing the risk of a counter-attack for slander and/or libel. I will dismiss the remainder of your comments as an emotional response to a most unpleasant and poor experience. I hope that you and you family can heal and that you can eventually learn that there are incompetent, poor, good and excellent professionals, in both law and medicine. I would suggest that both should be vetted very carefully, as if your life depends on it. Best of luck.

Posted

Hi, that can be difficult. You will have to contact the court and the judge to see if the pleadings can be quashed - eliminated from the record completely. It depends upon the judge. Good luck to you.

Henry Gornbein

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Posted

I agree with both Mr. Brennan and Mr. Gornbein. You may want to consider Michigan Court Rule 8.119(l), however, public policy causes courts to be reluctant to seal records. I have never known a court to be willing to actually delete records from the court files, including, especially, complaints.

I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.

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Christine Marie Heckler

Christine Marie Heckler

Posted

I agree with Attorney Conway. I would just add that I do not believe that sealing the court record (even if you could successfully get it sealed) would accomplish your goal of preventing anyone from knowing that a divorce had even been filed. Under the court rule cited by Mr. Conway "[a] court may not seal a court order or opinion, including an order or opinion that disposes of a motion to seal the record." In other words, there would still be a record that there was a divorce case and that it was sealed. Although you may consider it embarrassing that your husband filed a divorce against you, it is unlikely that anyone would search for that information or know where to find it. Even if the information is discovered, the record would reflect that the action was voluntarily dismissed. Finally, your husband might have felt pressured to file the divorce, but no one forced him to seek out a divorce attorney in the first place. Don't let him use this controversy with the attorney to distract your attention from that fact that he was contemplating divorce. Your time and energy might be better utilized if you directed it at healing the underlying problems in your marriage that precipitated this situation. I wish you the best of luck.

Posted

I agree with Attorney Conway. I would just add that I do not believe that sealing the court record (even if you could successfully get it sealed) would accomplish your goal of preventing anyone from knowing that a divorce had even been filed. Under the court rule cited by Mr. Conway "[a] court may not seal a court order or opinion, including an order or opinion that disposes of a motion to seal the record." In other words, there would still be a record that there was a divorce case and that it was sealed.

Although you may consider it embarrassing that your husband filed a divorce against you, it is unlikely that anyone would search for that information or know where to find it. Even if the information is discovered, the record would reflect that the action was voluntarily dismissed.

Finally, your husband might have felt pressured to file the divorce, but no one forced him to seek out a divorce attorney in the first place. Don't let him use this controversy with the attorney to distract your attention from that fact that he was contemplating divorce. Your time and energy might be better utilized if you directed it at healing the underlying problems in your marriage that precipitated this situation. I wish you the best of luck.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information, which may not be appropriate for the specific facts of your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship has been established based on this limited communication. You are advised to consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction before taking any action or inaction that may affect your legal rights. www.hecklerlawoffice.com

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Asker

Posted

I am not embarrassed about the information. I want the information removed because my husband is a federal agent and the information included in the documents is personal and could endanger our family.

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