My question involves malpractice by a lawyer in the state of: Minnesota
My husband hired a lawyer to represent him in an immigration issue. We requested that she retain another lawyer with experience in the 8th circuit of appeals to assist her in the case. In her haste to make a contract with us she did not include the other lawyer’s name, responsibility and fee scale but between my husband (the client), the other lawyer and herself there are a series of emails which indicate that there was an agreement that the fees would be split between herself and the other lawyer. The other lawyer did some work on the case, and after 20 days withdrew from it. He said he withdrew, because our lawyer delayed in paying him and blamed lack of payment on the client, although we had made a substantial down payment. He said, she made one excuse after another about covering his expenses and continued to delay. Our lawyer had told us the large down payment was in part to retain him—the other lawyer. (How the downpayment would be handled is not in writing).
We wished to retain the other lawyer. Our lawyer told us a month or more after the other lawyer withdrew, that she removed him because of his lack of performance. Our case was due in 2 weeks and it was impossible to search for and retain another lawyer—further, we had already paid her.
I filed a complaint against this lawyer for mishandling the case. The lawyer she hired to defend her states that I have the burden of showing a violation of Rule 4.1 by clear and convincing evidence. How can I demonstrate or give clear evidence that there was no communication when evidence for the lack of communication is simply that there is no communication--no email, no phone record, no anything? My lawyer provided “evidence” that she had called us by providing her phone records with an alleged list of my husband’s phone numbers. None of them were his number. And our mediating attorney simply rolled his eyes at me when I said so. Must I prove that this is the case by providing my husband’s phone records? And by calling everyone on the list she provided requesting their length of contract with the phone company?
Is the informal agreement between the two lawyers—the emails—is it contract enough to bind our lawyer to the obligations of the agreement the client and the other lawyer both made with her? Is she bound to pay the time and expense of the other lawyer?