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My civil lawyer hired a psychologist expert witness who turned out to be incompetent, unethical and dishonest. My bill is $9K.

Mount Pleasant, SC |

The lawyer insists I pay the full amount of the bill out of my settlement in addition to the $12K for the replacement witness. I had no say in hiring the witness and since he gave a moronic deposition, had never done a deposition and was confused by the questions, had lost his license which made him not credible, etc. etc. (My total fees exceed $50K in addition to the 40% cut for lawyer. He is a top lawyer in my state, Superlawyer, etc. Please don't tell me to talk to the lawyer (I have had many fruitless talks). Do not tell me to get a better lawyer (he is the best in my city and the case is almost over). I have no idea why he hired and paid this worthless "expert" but I think I should have an option (somehow) not to pay for his mistake. ?

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

It sounds to me like you don't really want advice -- you want permission (from us) to pursue a fee mediation or file an ethics complaint. (Those are really the only suggestions left on the table). You don't need permission or validation; if communicating with and/or firing your attorney isn't an option and you're still unhappy, you have two options:

(1) http://www.scbar.org/Committees/ResolutionofFeeDisputesBoard.aspx
(2) http://www.scbar.org/PublicServices/LawLine/Filingagrievanceagainstanattorney.aspx

My advice would be to write a golden rule letter to your attorney, certified mail. Explain why you're unhappy with the expert and with having to pay for it. Explain what you expect to be done about it, and by when he needs to respond with a satisfactory action (or alternative) to address your concerns. Let him know that failure to respond will result in you pursuing option 1, followed by option 2.

I think that'll get his attention.

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Posted

Sorry but I am going to tell you what you don't want to hear. Talk to your lawyer. Honestly you probably don't have much of a fee dispute case. I am sure you signed a contract putting experts and expenses in your lawyers discretion. You aren't really disputing a fee from the lawyer you are disputing an expense he incurred. And from what it sounds like your attorney is a good lawyer and probably did a good job.

My advice is don't expect to get the whole 9k back. Talk reasonably with the attorney and see if he will cut his fee to make up some of the loss. If your lawyehippy in the work and did a good job as an attorney I believe that you would be lucky to get anything from the fee dispute board. So talk to your lawyer and don't expect him to take the full loss.