I recently wrote about a client I called a “2 time client” meaning we worked for him our first and last times on the same case. I never thought it would get worse and that we would have a client we would have to fire before doing the work for which we were retained. Unfortunately, it happened recently. An attorney with whom we had never worked was hired on a case on which we had already been engaged (by previous counsel). As the work was ramping up to conduct mock trial research for the case, the attorney showed his true self. His true self is rude, abusive, unprofessional, disrespectful, and everything else that is stereotypically “wrong with attorneys.” It is attorneys like this guy who gives all attorneys a bad name! Perhaps it is fortunate that he revealed himself before the research day, which is stressful enough when the attorneys are nice and respectful. We have worked with some of the best attorneys in the country; they are very demanding. But, we are very capable and practiced, and we can deal with demanding – we understand it. What we do not understand is someone like this attorney who, like the dog that bites the hand that feeds it, is just plain nasty to us, when we are there to help him! I had heard rumors about him, but as noted in other posts, I’m the optimist at Magnus. I didn’t think he’d be that bad when we were on his side. I was wrong! So, for the first time ever in our history we decided we had to withdraw from the case. We could not allow this miserable, little, tyrant of an attorney to have the opportunity abuse me, or anyone at Magnus, again. We have a professional and ethical duty to our staff and the research participants to not expose them to abuse. In the prior “2 time client” scenario, the attorney was able to control himself until after the work was underway. This one, however, is both out of control and dangerous. Being ethical and professional can be costly – I sent back the retainer rather than risk working with this crackpot. And, that was painful. Here’s hoping karma takes care of us, and him.
As John Lennon famously said, “instant karma’s gonna’ get you.” Let’s hope so! The attorney who is the subject of this post is a younger than age 40 personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach who, because David dared to come inside his office (which is, of course, open to the public), verbally and physically assaulted David, in full view of the law firm’s employees. When he was impossible to reach, due to his telephone being out of order and his unresponsiveness to emails, David stopped by to say hello, due to the fact he happened to be in the building where the attorney works for another meeting. As David was turning around to leave, after being told the attorney was too busy to see him, the attorney suddenly burst out of his office and began to scream at David, telling him to never come to his office without an appointment. As if the screaming wasn’t bad enough, the attorney was eating while screaming, causing the food he was chewing to spew forth from his wide open mouth and onto David’s shirt, jacket, and tie. Nasty! I have never been spat upon, but needless to say, I believe David conducted himself with great decorum in refraining from punching the guy in the nose. David is a gentleman and a gentle person; since finding out what happened, I have fantasized about it being me who was victimized, convincing myself I would slug this loser, as well as anyone else who spat at me! Most of our clients, including several in my hometown of Fort Myers, have told me David and me that we are always welcome in their office any time; no appointment necessary. When we have stopped by to visit attorneys in situations similar to the one in which David was physically and verbally assaulted, they have been thrilled to see us, and seemingly flattered we thought highly of them to stop by for an impromptu visit. Never, ever, has anyone, until now, banned David or me from his/her office, particularly when we have been retained to work on the case with him/her! As difficult as it was to send back a sizable retainer, it was a whole lot easier to send it back than to risk being assaulted again. To continue quoting John Lennon’s “Instant Karma,” “Better recognize your brothers, everyone you meet. Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear…” This attorney will never see David or me in his office, or anywhere else, during the time we wait for karma!