Category Archive: Legal Malpractice

  1. How to seek justice from a dishonest attorney.

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    So, what can a clients do when their attorney has cheated them?

    KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi

    KGW Television News broadcast a long report about the infamous Lori Deveny, who is currently under indictment for stealing from her clients.  Reporter Kyle Iboshi does a good job of explaining what options are available and not available for Oregon clients.  Around 5:25, the reporter interviews me regarding lawsuit options.

    Here’s the link to the story.

     

  2. Oregon disbars lawyer 16 months after his arrest on 56 counts of sex crimes.

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    Oregon State Police arrested 54-year-old Roseburg attorney Sean Michael Handlery on 56 charges.  They included luring a minor, rape, sodomy, sex abuse and others.  That was January 2018.  In May 2019, the Oregon State Bar disbarred Mr. Handlery, citing twelve indictments plus bad conduct in the practice of law, too.

    The other bad conduct (“Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play”) included failing to correct false statements to the court, encouraging a client to lie and taking an employment law case when he did not know enough and about employment law and did not educate himself after accepting the case.

    When hiring and working with a lawyer, people need to do their research and trust their gut.  If something feels off, keep shopping for anther lawyer; there are thousands of us.


    Jeff Merrick, Oregon Litigation Attorney
    “I help people with legal malpractice and other claims against attorneys.”

    ©2019 by Merrick Law, LLC. and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact me does not mean I am your attorney. I only represent people after we sign a written contract.

  3. Attorney disbarred for sex with client

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    Attorney Gregory Knudsen of Wyoming wanted sex with his client at the same time he represented the married woman in her divorce proceeding.  He got what he wanted, and her husband complained to the bar.

    The state bar confronted Mr. Knudsen.  Sex with client?  No, we dated but not when she was my client, he said.  Apparently, the bar did not believe him. They actually had law enforcement execute a search warrant. (I wish Oregon officials would be that aggressive.) They found 11,000 texts and GIFs. Afterwards, Mr. Knudsen admitted wrongdoing.

    The “non-lawyerly” texts scared the woman.  She was afraid her husband would find them.  Attorney Knudsen encouraged her to delete the texts.  In other words, the attorney asked her to destroy potential evidence that might have pertained to the divorce case.  Another big no-no for an attorney.

    More details on the facts are found in the court’s decision.

    Oregon, too, prohibits a lawyer from having sexual relations with a current client unless a consensual sexual relationship existed before the lawyer-client relationship.

    Oregon defines “sexual relations” and “lawyer.”

    “’Sexual relations’ means sexual intercourse or any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person or causing such person to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of the lawyer for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either party.”

    “Lawyer” means the lawyer working on or assisting with the case.  That gives a pass to other lawyers working in the law firm not working on the case.  Attorneys may touch the file or touch the firm’s client, but not both.

    After the attorney client relationship ends, then the attorney and former client may act as any consenting adults.

    Which reminds me of an infamous 1992 case in which an Oregon attorney celebrated a big settlement on behalf of a sixteen-year-old by providing her alcohol and sex in a limousine.  The grand jury indicted him for three crimes: contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, sexual abuse in the third degree and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Although never convicted, the attorney lost his license for 18 months.  I suspect such conduct would net a stiffer penalty in 2019.

    The bottom line:  There are consequences when attorneys cross that line with clients from professional to sexual.

    Jeff Merrick, Oregon Litigation Attorney
    ©2019 by Merrick Law, LLC. and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact me does not mean I am your attorney. I only represent people after we sign a written contract.
  4. Willamette Week article better than a lawsuit by me.

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    On October 15, 2018, I asked the Press for help alerting any other victims of Lori Deveny.  People had contacted me to sue Ms. Deveny because I market myself to sue other lawyers.  They told me she was still stringing them along with promises they would get their money, one day, as if she were still authorized to practice law.  If anyone else were still waiting for money from Ms. Deveny, they needed to know her current status with the bar, I believed.  I thought a lawsuit could be newsworthy and might alert others.

    I considered lawsuits alleging fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice or other claims.  But, I did not feel it was in the best interests of the people who contacted me to file suit.  Nevertheless, I believed I needed to something in case other people believed she was still acting as their lawyer.   I contacted the Oregon State Bar, and I got the impression they felt they were doing all they could – which I did not believe was enough.  So, I contacted Nigel Jaquiss to see if the Willamette Week might be interested in the story.

    Today, Ms. Del Savio and Willamette Week published their story on her.  Thank you to Anna Del Savio, Nigel Jaquiss and the editors.

    Jeff Merrick, Oregon Litigation Attorney
    ©2018 by Merrick Law, LLC. and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact me does not mean I am your attorney. I only represent people after we sign a written contract.
  5. Lying stealing attorneys: Disbar, Sue and Arrest Them

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    Last month, the Oregon State Bar charged a Portland, Oregon attorney with misconduct arising from settlement dollars that belonged to her clients.  Really bad conduct, including settling a personal injury case for $100,000 but not telling the client.  Instead, the attorney told her client she settled for $40,000.  Under that scenario, the client would receive roughly $26,000 instead of $67,000 of the actual settlement of $100,000.

    Then, I wonder if the attorney earned full value for the case.  Did she need to settle fast for money SHE needed and fail work the case hard enough?  Should the case have settled for $200,000 instead of $100,000?  Could the client have received 2/3 rds of a $200,000 settlement, instead?

    The Portland attorney was Lori Deveny, who gave up her law license instead of fighting the charges.  I know her.  I’d seen her at professional meetings.  I’d sent her Christmas cards in the 2000s.  I was surprised.

    Today, a New York attorney was arrested for stealing from his clients.  His past included being the President of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

    So, as a client, who do you trust?

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  6. Legal Malpractice Primer

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    Great attorneys care for their clients with skill, wisdom and diligence.  Unfortunately, some attorneys fail in one or more of those categories. When lawyers do not “own up” to their mistakes and settle, a client may need to sue.  This article sets forth what a client must prove to win a legal malpractice case in Oregon and what attorneys sometimes offer as defenses.  Depending on the facts, a client may have other claims against attorneys, including breach of contract, fraud, theft and breach of fiduciary duty. Continue Reading