WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US DURING THE
COURSE OF YOUR LAWSUIT

 


CLIENT INFORMATION SHEET

 

 

We are an informal, but extremely busy, law firm.  If we agree to represent you, it is almost certain that at some point in the future you will feel frustrated because you have not been able to get through to us on the telephone or you cannot get an appointment as soon as you would like.  We ask you to remember that we have many, many clients and that we are committed to properly serving the needs of each. 

Every lawsuit consists of periods of activity and periods of "waiting."  When your case requires our attention, it receives it, while other clients (whose cases are in inactive periods) wait.  When your case is in an inactive phase, we are devoting our time and attention to other cases that have immediate demands.  We appreciate your patience and understanding during what we realize is a slow and difficult process for you.  Rest assured that you are neither forgotten nor neglected.

You can assist us in serving your needs by observing a few common sense guidelines:

  • If you are certain that you need to speak with your lawyer or our paralegal, call to make

an appointment.  Due to our schedules, it is generally a waste of your time for you to "drop in.”  It is rarely possible for us to see you immediately and, if we can work you in at all, it generally requires a long wait on your part.  To spare us both the frustration, call for an appointment except in cases of emergency.

  • You will have questions regarding your lawsuit from time to time, and we certainly want to see that they are answered fully.  Before you call us, however, refer to the information we provide to you.  It is likely that you will find a sufficient explanation.  If not, you may find that dropping us a note or email, or faxing us your questions, will be more successful than telephoning.  Having your concerns in writing serves as a reminder for us and permits us to address those concerns before or after regular business hours.

 

  • You must keep us informed of your current address, your home telephone, and your work telephone.  If any of those changes, notify us in writing immediately.  There will almost certainly be times during your lawsuit when we will need you on very short notice, and we must be able to contact you both during the day and after hours.

  • During your lawsuit, we will request your help in collecting information.  If we ask you to provide us with information within a certain time period, it is imperative that you follow our instructions precisely.  Lawsuits are very time-sensitive.

 

REMEMBER: In certain situations, the court can award "sanctions" against you if we fail to file something within me time the law allows.  Sanctions can include dismissing your lawsuit.  They can also include fines against you, which you will have to pay to the other side's lawyers.  Fines awarded by courts vary greatly, but can range anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars.  Obviously, it is critical that you comply with each and every deadline that we give you.

If we agree to represent you, we will insist that you honor the terms of your contract regarding payment of costs and fees.  If you fail to pay costs and fees as agreed, we may withdraw from your representation.  We do not wish to place undue financial pressure on any of our clients; however, we simply cannot serve our clients effectively if we are not paid.

Many of our cases are concluded at mediation.  If we consider mediation in your case, you will be furnished with an information sheet which describes the process and answers your questions.  Also, mediation is discussed in the fee agreement that you signed. 

However, in this basic information, we want to include one very important point regarding the mediation process:

If, during mediation, (1) your lawyer advises you that a settlement amount that has been offered to you is equal to or more than your lawyer believes you can recover at trial, and (2) you turn down the offer, then we specifically reserve the option to withdraw from your representation.

If you have questions concerning the part of your fee contract that deals with mediation, please ask them before you sign the agreement.

A Special Note on Multiple Plaintiff Cases

Many of our cases have "multiple plaintiffs," meaning that more than one person is suing the same person, business, or institution.  If you are one of three or more plaintiffs in your lawsuit, you should understand the following about possible settlement of your case.  In settling multiple plaintiff cases, we will apply the following rules:

  • Majority Rules.  The decision of whether to accept an amount offered by the other side to settle the case must be made by our client.  In multiple plaintiff cases, we will apply a "majority rule.”  If a majority of the plaintiffs decide to accept the offer, it will be accepted.  If a majority of the plaintiffs decide to turn down the offer, it will be declined.

 

  • Equal Division of Recovery.  Unless you agree otherwise with your co-plaintiffs in writing, the net recovery in a multiple plaintiff case will be divided equally among the plaintiffs.

  • Equal Division of Costs and Fees.  Unless you agree otherwise with your co-plaintiffs in writing, the costs and fees of your lawsuit will be divided equally among the plaintiffs.  This means that each plaintiff will be responsible for paying an equal share of the costs and fees incurred in your lawsuit.  However, if any one person fails to pay his or her part, we will look to the other co-plaintiffs to pay that share.  Making sure that costs are paid in a multiple plaintiff case requires cooperation between you and your co-plaintiffs to be certain that each person pays his or her fair share.

 

All of the rules above are included in your fee contract.  Be certain that you understand them before you sign it.

 

 

 

 

Michael E. Seelie, PA has represented people in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding communities of Orange Park, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Callahan, Palatka, Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, and Lake City in accident and injury cases since 1978.