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Attorney misconduct? Conflict of interest? Not a debt case


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OK, I don't know if it's improper to post this here, but I'm not sure where else to post this.

 

This is not a debt collection case.  It is a case involving city zoning/code enforcement, for a friend, not me. This is in Ohio.

 

The city's law director is also an attorney in private practice.  He twice represented this homeowner in the past, apparently on other matters. 

 

The city has filed a lawsuit against the homeowner, seeking to condemn his house that needs a lot of repairs.  The attorney listed on the lawsuit is the assistant law director, who is also an attorney in the same law firm as the law director.

 

Is there any conflict of interest here?  Should the homeowner/defendant object to this?  And how?  I assume by filing a motion? 

 

And, I have a suspicion that the law director is the one who complained to the city about the property, which is hard to see from the road.   The law director lives nearby and apparently has been using his house as an ATM, with lots or re-fi's and HELOCs.  These types of people are usually obsessed with property values and "blight."  If he did this, I think this is betraying a client, and there should be sanctions for this, including disbarment, IMO??

 

And another source of profit:  his law firm gets money for representing the city.

 

What kind of proof is needed for this?

 

Also, I think the city is acting in extreme bad faith.  They issued a notice of violation in mid-December, with a long list of things to be fixed, within 30 days, in the winter when doing outside work is difficult or impossible.  Then 30 days after the deadline, they file the lawsuit. 

 

I'm sure the city has been aware of the problems with the property for some time.  Why didn't they issue the notice in the summer, when it would have been possible to do repairs?

 

The city also claims the defendant never filed an administrative appeal of the notice of violation.  But no where on that notice is any information that an administrative appeal is available, or how to file one.

 

To me, this doesn't pass the "bad smell" test.  Any attorneys on here in Ohio who would represent the defendant here?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Seems the first place to look is to find out what the actual procedure is for this type of thing, eminent domain?

Can't be that you get one notice and then bam...lawsuit! What is the normal procedure for correcting alleged 'blight'? This is where I would start anyway.

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It may not be blight but rather condemned as unsafe and therefore not eminent domain. 

 

While the ol' boy network may be at work that is a double-edge sword if you go out of the area as Gunny suggests.  I was involved with one case that was as open and shut as you could get.  Respondant's signature forged (not even a good forgery) and in fact she was in Finland the day she allegedly signed the agreement.  The "judge" that signed the order was someone no one ever heard of and turned out to be some guy the plaintiff knew who had a law licence.  The trial should not have lasted more than 2 minutes.  After multiple hearings the respondant came very close to being imprisoned for violating the "order" since EVRY ruling went against her attorney.  Why?  The plaintiff had a local attorney and she did not.  She changed her attorney to a local one and surprise, the case was thrown out in less than a minute on the "technicality" that the guy that signed the order was not a judge or magistrate.

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Yes, I suggested that they get an attorney from out of the county.  I haven't seen anything as corrupt as what Drake Savory posted in my area, though. 

 

But I have seen local attorneys who are reluctant to fight and don't want to alienate the local judges and power structure.

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You are misinterpreting the rule of professional conduct concerning conflicts of interest. Generally it means that an attorney cannot represent both sides in a case, or testify against his own client, etc. There must be an attorney client relationship, which you do not currently have. Even so, you could file a motion with the court to disqualify counsel and state your reasons. I know a bit about this, thanks to me a certain attorney in a certain state is enjoying a second appearance before the disciplinary committee.

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But isn't there attorney-client confidentiality?  Suppose you are accused of a crime, you go to an attorney, you provide details to him about the crime that suggests you did it, along with other crimes, he gets you off on a technicality, then goes to the police and gives them the info on the other crimes?  And you are found guilty of the other crimes because the lawyer tipped off the cops?

 

If this could happen, and were legal, I don't think many criminal suspects would dare to get lawyers.

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Anything you say to your attorney is protected under the privilege. There are narrow exceptions in criminal cases. This is not criminal. He does not represent you currently, so there is no conflict. There is a prior relationship that could be prejudicial to your case. That's all I see here. Maybe Nascar will comment.

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