So, there we were: white knuckles, chest pains, and panic attacks . . . not the life I had envisioned for myself or my family and I was sick about it!
Once again we were left scratching our heads, mostly trying to figure out what this meant, and not seeing any connection to us. (And, I’ll just give you a little preview: there never was any connection to us, and nothing came of this in regards to our issues, but it was still a troubling bunny trail.) Nonetheless, as mentioned in a previous blog post (#26), Stan had pushed A&J to file a malpractice suit against Todd in May of 2010.
Since then, Nick (attorney at A&J) had been since negotiating with Major Law Firm, which represented both Todd and Todd’s very large law firm, Wishful Thinking, about a “tolling agreement” (an agreement to waive the right to claim that litigation should be dismissed due to the expiration of a statute of limitations). Naturally neither MLF nor the insurance company that covered Todd and Wishful Thinking, were in favor of tolling agreements. They said they would consider it if we showed them our complete file. Ha, ha.
The Statute of Limitations Swamp
To be clear, nobody knows when the statute of limitations in this case really started to run or when it might end, because the language is so weird. In Colorado, there is a two-year statute of limitations period for general negligence claims. However, when the statute of limitations period begins running is not always clear – that is, at what date does your two-year period begin? The language indicates that it begins when you knew or when you should have known of your injuries.
But, we still did not know exactly what our injuries were. Obviously, we were in a world of hurt, but what specifically had Todd done? How had he been negligent? And how specifically had we been injured? We were mired in problems, and had spent money on attorneys trying to fix the problems, but we had not yet paid a fine or a penalty or interest. So, what were our actual damages? We weren’t sure what had caused this mess we were in, but we were worried about this statute of limitations issue and wanted to preserve our right to file a malpractice case. It was a swamp!
More Disturbing News
We thought we had turned the malpractice case over to A&J (and our emails support the fact that Stan gave them clear direction to proceed), but on September 15, 2010, Nick at A&J sent us an email that was very disturbing. It started with a lot of legalese about what triggering date for the statue of limitations on a malpractice claim against an attorney (discussed above). Nick then concludes with, “I don’t want to take a chance on this and would suggest that you file suit right away. However, you and your partners have not retained A&J to pursue malpractice claims. As such, if you want to file these suits, we would need a new matter, agreement, and retainer. Let’s talk when you have a chance to read this.”
Naturally, we were stunned. We had been discussing this with A&J for 10 months. Stan did a quick “reality check,” with our partners, and all those we contacted said they thought A&J was already representing us in this matter. But, just to cover all the bases, Stan asked a couple of our partners who were retired attorneys to search for a “back-up” firm for the malpractice case.
Stan replied very bluntly to Nick that Nick should “get on it with it” in both the IRS and the malpractice cases.
In mid-October of 2010, we received a trial date for March 14, 2011 for the IRS cases. A&J notified us that they would start moving forward with discovery (admissions, request for production of documents, interrogatories, etc.). The IRS agent we were now working with, Tom Raddow, suggested we make him an offer for settlement, but we were concerned that his idea of settlement was much closer to his number than ours. Still, we were very happy to have a settlement conference set for November 10, 2010 with Tom and Bo.
The problem was that we were very disgruntled with A&J and, in consultation with one of our attorney partners, had just written a letter protesting the enormous fees A&J were charging us for very little work. We decided we wouldn’t send the protest letter, but would instead delay our payment of their bill…but not paying them right before a settlement conference could be disastrous.
So, there we were: white knuckles, chest pains, panic attacks, and nonstop bickering between me and Stan. This was absolutely not the life I had envisioned for myself or my family and I was sick about it! ©Sharon Cairns Mann