My attorney has, during the 18 months he has been on my case, revealed that he is not only friendly with the defendant's attorney, but also friendly with two board members for the defendant (this is a wrongful termination during disability caused by employer negligence.) Though he has the evidence that my case is rock solid, I have had to consistently repeat my innocence to him. Now, when the defendant is ready to settle out of court, they want to give him his full retainer directly, while giving me two installments. Originally he told me this is because of their financial hardship, but now revealed they likely want to pay in installments because they do not intend to pay me that second installment, using the excuse of defamation. Since I have not lied about the injury nor the wrongful termination I do not fear this, but I believe their strategy is to drag this out and not pay in full AFTER my attorney is out of the picture.
If your attorney is truly conspiring with the opposing side, it would be shocking and crazy. Why would your attorney risk his legal career? Many clients feel like their attorney is in bed with the opposition, but it almost never happens.
If you think your attorney is so egregiously violating the rules of ethics, you need to immediately terminate the relationship and refuse to settle until you get unbiased counsel. However before you do such a drastic thing, be sure your suspicions are not just disappointment in the apparent outcome of your claim.
If the attorney is so terribly conflicted, you have the right to report his misconduct to the California State Bar. You can start that process here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Complaints-Claims
Good luck to you.
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I would check with another attorney. Attorneys in the Bay Area who practice in the same area of law tend to run into each other. It does not surprise me that they are friends with the defense attorney. They may have practiced in the same law firm at one point. For your own peace of mind have another attorney read the settlement.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
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