Posted by Tim
Mr. Patish agreed to represent me in a landlord - tenant dispute. I was seeking damages for a failure to maintain a habitable premises. The facts and evidence were all in my favor and Mr. Patish agreed to represent me at a reasonable price.
The property owner had been cited by city inspectors more than once and failed to fully comply with the citations in a timely manner. Within the first few minutes of the trial, the defendants counsel stated that if judgement was in my favor, they would appeal the case. The judge wished me good luck and said he had no choice but to send the matter to a higher court.
Immediatley after the trial, Mr. Patish, my wife and I went to lunch, (on us of course) during which he explained that it would cost a minimum of $5,000. more for him to represent me in the next phase. His advice was to go to court without him. Seriously! He calmly explained that the judge would listen to the facts, that I did not need a lawyer since I was so familiar with the case, had audio recordings, video, photographs and violation notices that had been served on the property owner.
Nothing went according to Mr. Patish's advice. The judge informed me that he had read the lease and asked me to present my case. The star whitness was one of the three city inspectors that had visited the property on numerous occasions and filed the code violations. This inspector testified that he could not remember the facts, didn't bring his paperwork to court and had lost the video evidence I had given to him.
The judge, contrary to what Mr. Patish had advised me, would not let me offer any testimony. He would not listen to the audio recordings nor view the videos. There was no choice except to stop presenting evidence. At this point the defendant's attorney made a statement that there was no lease entered into evidence, (despite the judge having stated that he had the lease in his hands and had read it) therefore there was no obligation for the property owner to present his case.
He asked for dismissal and that's exactly what happened. I couldn't even get my security deposit refunded even though the property was flawlessly spotless, freshly painted and in much better condition than when I took possession. This added insult to injury, costing me another $1,450.00!
All of this is relevant to my review of this lawyer because he told me what I should do. He insisted that the judge would listen to the evidence. He accepted my money for the first trial, then abandoned the case. He left us with nothing but very bad worthless "advice". This was how two years of stress ended.
Here is my advice for anyone looking for a lawyer in the Norfolk or Virginia Beach area. Pay whatever it costs to hire an attorney that won't abandon you while telling you that you can represent yourself. That is pure rubbish. The lesson I learned? Looking for a reasonably priced lawyer is comparable to shopping for a discount brain surgeon.
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