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QLD Lawyer Behaviour - Did Not Check Their Junk Mail

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Neroli Endacott, 25 May 2015.

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  1. Neroli Endacott

    25 May 2015
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    Law Firm name and all other names have been changed so as not to identify them for obvious reasons. Welcome input and assistance if possible please.

    Short Version:
    Ann has a defamation case active with a lawyer.
    The 'other side' lawyer sent an email to Ann's lawyer on 1st May 2015 with an 'out of court' offer.
    On the 18th May 2015 Ann was informed of this email offer from her Lawyer.
    The timeframe for the 'out of court offer' had expired by 4 days.

    Ann was not given the opportunity to make a counter offer and the 'other sides' lawyer had not been informed Ann had no knowledge of the letter or chance to give a response.
    The email had landed in Ann’s lawyers "junk mail box” and therefore had been missed. 18 days sitting in email JUNK.

    There have been other errors where Ann had not been informed of timeframes regarding information with her Statement of claim and was informed after the fact.

    I have written a letter – copy below (NOT YET SENT) to Ann’s lawyer stating my concerns as I am footing the bill for her case but now am uncertain it may not be the correct action to take?

    Good morning Ms X,

    My name is J, Ann is my friend.
    As I am funding Ann’s defamation case, I felt it necessary at this point to make contact with you regarding my concerns.
    Ann is and remains your client I am only voicing these words in support of her case.
    It is understood that Ann’s claim is probably somewhat small in comparison to what you probably deal with daily, however for Ann and her family it has been a very stressful and costly experience.

    My Concerns are:
    During the claim period, there have been delayed actions from your firm with regard to initiating tasks.
    I am aware that Ann did receive an apology from Mr X-the Boss which I understand she accepted in good faith. (Ann is always very forgiving.J)

    Over the Easter period Ann was extremely distressed about the removal of a defamatory statement which was in her original concerns notice but removed from the statement of claim because of a five day time lapse?

    I question why Ann was not advised by her legal representative there was a timeframe?
    I find this concerning and unacceptable.

    ABC Lawyers represent Ann and my understanding is they are there to act on her behalf, guide, assist and advise her concerning all matters regarding defamation.
    With ABC Lawyers experience in defamation I would have thought it was a ‘duty of care’ to your client to make Ann aware of any timeframes and to stress the urgency of moving forward, especially if she only had days to go.
    It concerns me that in this instance and delays prior to this have possibly impacted negatively on her case?

    Ann has now advised me that you were in receipt of a letter from Mr S’s lawyer dated Fri 1/05/2015 10:11am regarding an out of court settlement?

    Ann was informed of this letter on 18th May 2015 – 4 days past the timeframe to propose a counter offer?

    Ann did explain that it was discovered in your junk mail but also said that Mr S’s lawyer had spoken about this to you some time ago?
    Ann and I have both spoken about this scenario and making a counter offer we feel would have been the best option and in all possibility the case could have had closure by now?

    I am a significantly concerned that Mr S’s lawyers have not been advised that ABC Lawyers have only just located this email of settlement.
    In light of what has happened can I respectfully ask what options you consider to be the best way forward to correct these errors please?

    I am also aware that Ann has already made another payment for her reply to Mr S’s defence which is being prepared.
    Ann is putting all of her faith and trust into the hands of ABC Lawyers and will be guided by your experience and knowledge with such dealings; I just fear that shortfalls such as the above mentioned will impact on the outcome.
    Please be aware that I spoke to Ann regarding my intent to contact you and she was very hesitant and anxious and concerned that my intervention may also impact on the works you are currently providing. Ann is completely trusting in your work Ms X.
    After researching similar situations, I reassured her that I don’t consider it would be a concern for any reputable firm to respond to my concerns. (With Ann’s authorisation for you to respond to me)

    I wish to be informed of ABC Lawyers endeavour to resolve this latest misdemeanour which I view as one of major importance.
    I respectfully request the accountability of your firm’s principles to work in Ann’s best interests be confirmed and certainly believe the errors noted in this email needs consideration for compensation.

    May I reiterate and request confirmation please, that your firm immediately informs Mr S’s Lawyers of the situation explaining the reason Ann was not able to respond to the suggestion of an out of court offer.
    Although the timeline has passed, under the circumstances I believe it should be reopened and a counter offer made.
    Ann, with my financial assistance are prepared to take the case to court if they are not willing to accept Ann’s counter offer or at least what we consider a reasonable offer to settle this matter.

    In the case a reasonable settlement is not made, I would also like to raise the suggestion of an amendment being executed to the claim regarding Mr MX and/or the consideration of all the Executive Committee being bought on as co-defendants.
    As was suggested and discussed to you earlier by Ann verbally and also via email 25/03/2015.
    (Please view Copy below with Ann’s suggested instructions.)
    Ann and I firmly believe this would add immense strength to her case.

    I look forward to an immediate response please and a quick resolution to the above matters as well as matters regarding lawyer behaviour and negligence, and sincerely appreciate your continued assistance to Ann.
  2. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

    11 July 2014
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    Hi Neroli

    If you enter the communication stream between Ann, the client, and her lawyers it may in fact complicate communication lines as you move forward. One option for your consideration is first to have a discussion with Ann in which you're both able to articulate your grievances with the lawyers, and then let Ann voice these to the lawyers as their client.
  3. Neroli Endacott

    25 May 2015
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    Thanks for your thoughts. Have hesitated for that reason.

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