Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Day The Toes Stopped Tapping.

Yes kids, the dreaded second of that foreboding minute of the momentous hour of that portentous day has arrived.

(I have no idea what any of that means.)


Here's a taste of Magistrate Judge Brown's order which, true to form in this case, was apparently filed erroneously under restriction (D.E. 1430) ("you do not have permission to view this document"), then refiled as D.E. 1431 in two parts (for which you have to pay(!) as if it's a pleading and not an order):
To be sure, this was a most unusual and unique case. The saga endured by plaintiffs might well make a script for a book. (Ed. -- or a whole mess of blog posts!) The ensuing claims addressed by defendant were as far from "run of the mill'' as anyone could imagine. The Court is not without sympathy for the ordeal plaintiffs went through. Indeed, the record is full of indicators of sympathy on several fronts -including that of at least one of the adjusters handling this case. This clearly contributed to the most unusual happenstance of - on more than one occasion - the defendant paying claims without supporting documentation, simply on the "say-so'' of Mr. Halmos, and in the end resulted in more than one substantial overpayment. The uncontroverted evidence is that an almost symbiotic relationship developed between Mr. Halmos and the primary INA adjuster, Pamela Harting- Forkey . . . until supporting materials for claim s were requested and claims began to be questioned. lt then turned quite adversarial - at least on the part of plaintiffs. Notwithstanding said sympathy, however, the Court reaches its decisions herein without being "influenced in any way by sympathy, or by prejudice, for or against anyone.'' Eleventh Circuit Standard Instruction regarding Consideration of The Evidence.
Let's just say the case came down to credibility determinations, and here's a small example of where the Judge's head was at on that issue:
Third, IYC intentionally misrepresented that the Merideth Law Firm invoices were "legal and Legal Support Services'' related to salvage and protection against loss of the Legacy due to Hurricane Wilma, even though the time was for Halmos, a non-lawyer partner in the District of Columbia-based Merideth Law Firm, and his employees. See FF 148-50. 'I'he Court finds Mr. Halmos' "partnership'' in Washington D.C. of no significance, as the alleged work done and billed) was done in Florida, not in D.C., and by Mr. Halmos' own version of the facts, was done under supervision of a Florida lawyer.   There is no evidence in this record of that lawyers' affiliation with the Merideth Law Firm. In making such representations, Halmos not only violated the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct, see D.C. R. Prof Conduct 5.541) (prohibiting individuals from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in other jurisdictions, such as Florida); D.C. R.Prof Conduct 5.409(2) & (3) (the nonlawyer in partnership with the District of Columbia law organization must abide by (the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct), he violated Florida law, see Fla. Stat. j 454.23 ("Any person not licensed or otherwise authorized to practice 1aw in this state who practices 1aw in this state or holds himself or herself out to the public as qualified to practice law in this state, or who willfully pretends to be, or willfully takes or uses any name, title, addition, or description implying that he or she is qualifed, or recognized by law as qualified, to practice law in this state, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in sec 775.082, sec 775.083, or sec 775.084.5').

Maybe this loopy version is more appropriate here:


Anonymous said...

You should write a book about this case, SFL!

Godwhacker said...

Props for the music video.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean attorneys cannot bill for the overhead of legal secretaries, investigators, expert witnesses etc. because they are not attorneys?

Seems like a pretty picayune finding to me. A little like a "spitting in Poughkeepsie" violation given the legal bills I have seen. If not properly documented, then disallow.

Anonymous said...

You can take the girl out of casualty defense but not casualty defense out of the girl