Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Missouri

Urgent, alone and afraid

I was a RE Appraiser.A few yrs back an investor was buying many properties fo which many I appraised.The investor was flipping the mortgages and using the funds personally. Title and mortgage companies were created for his use. I was served with a civil suit against myself and over 150 others. I am being sued for millions. I had no E&O insurance. They think I was involved in this scheme.All I meant to do was my job. The attorneys I consulted wanted 50-75K for a retainer fee.In turn, I must make my own legal decisions.I think this case is really big and I feel that I am left at the top of the list for a fall guy. FBI,IRS,Freddie Mac and many other institutions are involved. I have mininal info on charges or status. As a result my life is a mess.I am broke financially and mentally,I have lost my home,gave up my license and feel I am trapped. I no longer trust anyone and ''I am afraid''. I am scared of the legal consequences but I am afraid for my life.There are millions of dollars at stake, not to mention the possibility of this case becoming criminal.I hold the answers,which I currently don't know the ?'s. It would be easy for them to ''do away with me'' for the purpose of putting blame upon me.I need advise b/f it's too late.

Asked on 7/29/03, 6:05 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael R. Nack Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
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Re: Urgent, alone and afraid

Your post does not state where you are located or where this lawsuit is pending. It is obvious that you need competent legal advice and representation. I believe that the retainer fee quotes you have received are somewhat high, even given the seriousness of the situation. If you are located in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, and if you do not already have legal counsel then you may call me for a telephone consultation at 314-727-2822. If this is a case I feel competent to handle after our consultation, I will quote you a more reasonable retainer fee. Thank you.

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7/30/03, 11:34 pm
Anthony Smith LawSmith
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Re: Urgent, alone and afraid

I empathize with you. Being sued can be very scary. But, a civil suit is never the biggest thing in a person's life, although it may feel like it is at the time.

Just because, you have been named along with many other defendants in acivil suit, does not mean you will be prosecuted criminally. If you did not make fraudulent appraisals, or take bribes to do anything unethical, I do not know of abasis for a criminal prosectution.

I have not heard all of the paticulars of your matter, so I do not know if the initial fee (as you described "retainer")that the attorneys you spoke with, is appropriate in this case.

As you are not sured, and likely many of the other defendants are, there will be counsel to represent the interest of at least some defendants, that defense work may spill over to help you. But, as you eluded to, it may point afinger at you also. However, I have never known acase like this to cause soemone to murder a defendant to make it look like they were responsible for something they were not.

If you could not afford the counsel you talked to first, keep looking. You need to get some representation, even if it limited. There is probably someone for your budget, but you will have to find them. Attorneys who do not charge large intial fees, often can not afford to advertise as fully as those who do. You might also consider discussing your situation with a bankruptcy attorney.

As to you having to make the legal decisions, that is the case in every case. You are the boss, the attorney works for you. You can ask their opinion as to the possible ramifications of various options along the way, but you are ultimately the one who has to have the last say.

Good Luck,

Tony Smith

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7/29/03, 9:56 pm

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