Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Anyone have worse clients that this?

My office took over a case awhile back that had questionable orange901/20/18
"judge called us into chambers and said he is going to grant inho2solo01/20/18
I'm a bit confused by that as well. Appeals won't cost anywh thirdtierlaw01/20/18
Can you give us a little more detail on the kind of case and isthisit01/20/18
The offer is more than 2 million. Our adversaries are gentl orange901/21/18
Some PI attorneys I know deal with this issue with a retaine guyingorillasuit01/21/18
That was done in this case. This may have been the only time orange901/21/18
wait, is my boomerboss your client? Seriously, I hope you dingbat01/22/18
Maybe it's Monday morning cobwebs or I really am that dense, pauperesq01/22/18
I presume they think they are going to appeal the granting o wolfman01/22/18
That's the only thing that makes sense to me too. If that's pauperesq01/22/18
Does your contingency agreement cover appeals? I’m guessin alphadog1501/23/18
Cover your butt with correspondence. Bring in the most senio jorgedeclaro01/23/18
Few thoughts: 1) Entirely improper for judge to state tha tcpaul01/23/18
orange9 (Jan 20, 2018 - 12:42 pm)

My office took over a case awhile back that had questionable liability, but a 7 figure offer on the table. The liability question has been concerning us for awhile and have been priming our clients to settle, but to no avail. Not exactly sure why they are so hell bent on trial. They either think the idea is really cool, or they think a jury will give them a ringer. I personally think it will be a no cause.
After numerous settlement conferences, clients still would not accept any offers. The current offer is a million dollars over what it was when we took over, and they still would not accept. Summary Judgment motions have been filed and after reviewing the entire record again, all of my liability concerns are now even more heightened, and my office expressed our opinions again. Clients will not budge. They think they are amateur lawyers and like to read every single submission made to the court.
This past week, we had the SJ scheduled and the judge called us into chambers and said he is going to grant the motion, but said lets have argument and he will reserve, and hopefully his comments on the record will help settle the case (no one wants to deal with appeals so the offer is still open). We tell this to the client. Case is still not settled.

Reply Like (0)
inho2solo (Jan 20, 2018 - 1:27 pm)

"judge called us into chambers and said he is going to grant the motion"

Whereupon the previously rejected offer didn't sink by $2 million?

Reply Like (0)
thirdtierlaw (Jan 20, 2018 - 1:35 pm)

I'm a bit confused by that as well. Appeals won't cost anywhere near $2mil. OP you're sure you aren't drastically undervaluing the case?

Reply Like (0)
isthisit (Jan 20, 2018 - 1:44 pm)

Can you give us a little more detail on the kind of case and damages? I'm curious why the client won't take 2 million.

Reply Like (0)
orange9 (Jan 21, 2018 - 1:05 am)

The offer is more than 2 million.
Our adversaries are gentleman and are standing by their current offer. The fact that they are standing by their offer and didn't pull it is nothing short of a miracle, and the clients seem to be willing to pass on the lifeline. If the carriers order the transcripts from this week, the offers just may come off the table. This was something the clients were willing to risk.

Also, due to indemnification and excess coverage issues, the party controlling the money isn't the party paying at the end of the day.

It is a 3rd party PI case. The WC aspect of the case is messing things up because the client is worried about the future costs of treatment. The clients also do not understand the difference between a life care plan and an economist report, so they think they are entitled to the full amount in the life care plan without reducing to current worth. And then they went ahead and second guessed every aspect of our economist's report, even her inflation rate. Instead of trying to understand her economic principles, they tried to convince her that her report was wrong based on the current inflation rates and CPI, etc. They even went to the library and made copies of the sources she cited in her report to double check her work.

These people are looking at the case backwards. Instead of looking at the worth of the case and what a trial would yield, they look at it as "this is how much we need (or want)" and will not settle for less. The amount they had us demand at the last settlement conference was more than our own economist report, and this was after spending hours of explaining the questionable liability to them. On a conference call the week before the conference, we made our demand and the adversaries response was to ask whether our clients were serious about settling.

Reply Like (0)
guyingorillasuit (Jan 21, 2018 - 1:11 am)

Some PI attorneys I know deal with this issue with a retainer agreement requiring the client to put up money for experts in advance of the trial. Most of the time, client reluctance can be overcome with a phone call asking to deposit $80,000 into the trust account for anticipated costs.

Reply Like (0)
orange9 (Jan 21, 2018 - 3:15 am)

That was done in this case. This may have been the only time I can think of that the client actually came with the check.

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Jan 22, 2018 - 9:32 am)

wait, is my boomerboss your client?

Seriously, I hope you're not working on contingency. This client is gonna sink the case. I've seen 'suicidal' clients before, and it's never pretty. In the end, it is the client's decision (see current supreme court case McCoy vs Louisiana)

Reply Like (0)
pauperesq (Jan 22, 2018 - 11:02 am)

Maybe it's Monday morning cobwebs or I really am that dense, but I'm confused. Your judge is saying he's going to grant the defendant's MSJ and your client still won't take the settlement offer? You referenced the fact that they think they can get more at trial. What trial? If the judge grants the MSJ, what else is left?

How does this client not understand that something (albeit less than what they want, but still millions) is better than nothing?

Reply Like (0)
wolfman (Jan 22, 2018 - 11:14 am)

I presume they think they are going to appeal the granting of summary judgement and win on appeal... which is the only thing that makes sense... and which is crazy absent something really unusual going on in the case.

Reply Like (0)
pauperesq (Jan 22, 2018 - 3:06 pm)

That's the only thing that makes sense to me too. If that's the case, OP, it might be time to consider dropping this client unless your firm is ok with another 1-2 years of time and money on that file.

Reply Like (0)
alphadog15 (Jan 23, 2018 - 7:17 am)

Does your contingency agreement cover appeals? I’m guessing not if it’s like most contingency agreements. Give them the estimate of full appeals process as well as chances of losing.

Although I’m guessing if they ponies up the $80k expert witness expenses they’ll pony up for this as well, but at least it won’t be a total loss for your firm.

Reply Like (0)
jorgedeclaro (Jan 23, 2018 - 6:31 pm)

Cover your butt with correspondence. Bring in the most senior partner or litigator in your office to give the client a talking to. Hire a former judge as a mediator out of the firm's pocket but without mediation to review the motions for summary judgment and make a recommendation to the client.

Reply Like (0)
tcpaul (Jan 23, 2018 - 9:18 pm)

Few thoughts:

1) Entirely improper for judge to state that he was going to grant the SJ. I've had a lot of cases where the judge intentionally held off on ruling on an SJ to create leverage so the parties would settle, but to actually tell the parties how he/she is going to rule? Crazy.

2) Crazy that they are keeping the offer on the table. So crazy that I'm not sure I can believe it. It's one thing to be a gentleman. It's another thing to save your client a couple mil by winning an SJ. Keeping the offer on the table and not relaying the judge's comments is likely a breach of their duties and violation of the ethics rules. My guess is that there is something here that we're missing because this part doesn't add up.

3) I work at a PI firm and my boss doesn't let us strong arm clients into settling. We can't threaten to withdraw and we can't assert liens if the client fires us. We have lost hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars over the years because clients have refused to accept offers and forced us to trial. This year alone we had a case where the offer was $250,000, we knew it was a loser, the client refused to settle, and we lost at trial. The only thing crazier than the defendant offering $250,000 was that the client refused to accept it and we were prohibited from putting any meaningful pressure on the client to settle it.

4) F$*& it. When you deal with enough idiot clients that think they know everything - and certainly know more than you - you begin to take real pleasure in client's screwing up their own cases. Sure you lose out on a great fee. But life goes on. Revel in the schadenfreude and do NOT miss the opportunity to say, "I told you so."

Reply Like (0)
Post a message in this thread