My question involves small claims court in the state of: California
I hired an attorney to represent me in my Divorce case. The case settlement is done and my attorney served me a bill charging $250/hr at $10,000 (apart from the $4000 already paid ). I refused to sign "CLIENT ATTORNEY AGREEMENT" and requested my attorney to change the hourly rate to $125/hr as $250/hr is something I cannot afford to pay. In Jan 2010 when I refused to pay $10k as her fee, Attorney threatened me saying she filed the "BREACH OF CONTRACT/WARRANTY" against me, on me demanding "PROOF OF SERVICE" she suggested to go for mediation I filed for arbitration, the day came in Nov 2010 when 3 arbitrators in the panel gave a judgement that attorney is entitled to a fee of $253.04 and not 10k. The judgement also stated that the attorney has no competency in family law. In Feb 2011 I sent out a check for $253.04 to attorney. Attorney informed me that she denied the arbitration judgement and filed a civil case "BREACH OF CONTRACT/WARRANTY" on Jan 4th 2011 against me. I went online to OCCOURTS.ORG and purchased the paper work online and found no "PROOF OF SERVICE" filed. I checked online today and see that "PROOF OF SERVICE" was filed on 23rd march 2011. I haven't received any paperwork about the case as of now. Attorney has my current address as I clearly mentioned it on the envelope that I used to mail her the arbitration judgement amount check.
Please suggest me what should be my next step as I did not receive the Case Paperwork and the attorney has filed "PROOF OF SERVICE". Doesn't the procedure require my signature as evidence and acknowledge that I was served with the case papers. If I don't respond to this case on time, as I have not received the case papers what is the next step.
I appreciate your advice as this attorney has been troubling just because she knows law and she has no right to trouble a simple citizen like me who is already overloaded with work to earn their living. And is there a way I can put a stop to her harassments filing a case after case against me.