Is it legal for my attorney to be PIF by defendant now, while I am given 'installments' knowing they don't intend full payment?
2 attorney answers
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.
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.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.