Being revenge sued by ex-con, and want to handle case myself. How to start?
A felon that my wife and I testified against in Federal criminal court is suing us. We now live in Mississippi, but he lives in, and the case is filed from, California.
He is very litigious and is always pro-se, and he plans on suing us again and again with ridiculously meritless lawsuits until we are broke from all the legal fees (he has already drained us of $60k in fees to our lawyers so far). He must know he can never win, as the accusations in his motions are absurd in the extreme.
Is there a way that I can be pro-se, but get a lawyer in L.A. County to answer my legal questions and file my motions, while I do the bulk of the research and the actual writing of those motions?
If I don't go this route, my wife and I will be broke within a very short time, what with attorney fees around $300/hour.
Or is there a better way to stop this convicted con-man?
3 Answers from Attorneys
If the proceeding is in California Superior Court, you may be able to move to disqualify the plaintiff under California Code of Civil Procedure section 391(b). You should also consider bringing counterclaims or a new complaint for malicious prosecution or abuse of process, if warranted. Even if plaintiff is now too poor to collect from ("judgment proof"), a judgment which includes an award of punitive damages could haunt him for the rest of his life.
As for having a paralegal do most of your work, you may run a huge risk of saving on attorney's fees but having to pay a substantial judgment if you lose. You may want to shop around for new attorneys. Feel free to contact me by the information below. I am willing to discuss competitive fee structures with you.
The Law Office of Justin Sobodash
9107 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 450
Beverly Hills, California 90210
There are better ways to litigate that case than what .Sobodash points out. You may be able to bring a SLAPP motion to recover your attorney's fees and have the case dismissed at the outset.
Feel free to send me a private e-mail if you want me to review the matter for a no cost consultation.
Mr. Sobodash and Mr. Roach are both correct. An anti-SLAPP motion may get the current case dismissed early and result in an order that the plaintiff pay your attorney fees, but it won't prevent him from trying again. An order deeming him a vexations litigant (per the statute Mr. Sobodash mentioned) would prevent him from filing any further lawsuits in California state courts unless he either is represented by counsel or persuades a judge that the new case has merit. You should probably seek both of these remedies.
If your case is in Southern California, I may be able to represent you. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss your case further.