f/k/a . . . the archives

May 26, 2003

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:48 pm

 

10 Comments

  1. where does this go?

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 3, 2003 @ 11:23 pm

  2. where does this go?

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 3, 2003 @ 11:23 pm

  3. One might argue that disbarment IS discipline. Are you meaning that Cappiccio (from memory) was not requred to disgorge his fees?

    Comment by Shirley Dunnells — June 9, 2003 @ 8:15 pm

  4. One might argue that disbarment IS discipline. Are you meaning that Cappiccio (from memory) was not requred to disgorge his fees?

    Comment by Shirley Dunnells — June 9, 2003 @ 8:15 pm

  5. Good questions, Shirley.  Disbarment is definitely discipline.  My point is that none of the four ethics Committees in the State took any action against Lawyer Capoccia — an ethics recidivist, who had a massive advertising campaign across the state on tv and in newspapers — when the “only” victims were his clients.   They waited until Capoccia angered a few judges with his frivolous suits and contempt of court, allowing him to attract perhaps as many as 20,000 clients before he was stopped  (from whom he took “contingency fees” upfront of thousands of dollars before he performed “services” for them). 
    Besides the many clients who called the discipline committees (and were told to try the Attorney General instead), I personally filed detailed complaints with two of the Committees, one at the end 1997, when there were only a few hundred victims.  Both times, no action was taken, supposedly because I was not an actual client and so my complaints were hypothetical.   I believe a main reason was the refusal to question the use of contingency fees.
    No action was taken against Capoccia until he was found to be in contempt of numerous courts for failing to comply with their orders and filing frivolous claims.  Thus, no precedent was created to help deter others from continuing the “debt reduction services” scam and the collection of inflated, upfront ”reverse contingency fees” (based on the amazing prediction of being able to reduce the client’s debts by 60 – 70%, and then charging 25% of that predicted debt reduction).  Clients were told to immediately stop making payments on all debt (so as to put pressure on the creditor to reduce their debts).  Thus, many people who at the time still had good credit ratings had their credit ruined or were forced into bankruptcy, the very thing they had hoped to avoid.  With Capoccia disbarred for his conduct at court, his partners continued the same practices and even spread across the border to other states.
    As far as disgorgement:  Capoccia and his wife and former partners are now defendents in federal indictments charging fraud and grand larceny.  As I had predicted when begging the discipline committees to act, the delays apparently allowed Capoccia to hide away the clients’ moneys and the firm profits.  At this point, virtually no money has been recovered to repay to clients. 

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 9, 2003 @ 9:47 pm

  6. Good questions, Shirley.  Disbarment is definitely discipline.  My point is that none of the four ethics Committees in the State took any action against Lawyer Capoccia — an ethics recidivist, who had a massive advertising campaign across the state on tv and in newspapers — when the “only” victims were his clients.   They waited until Capoccia angered a few judges with his frivolous suits and contempt of court, allowing him to attract perhaps as many as 20,000 clients before he was stopped  (from whom he took “contingency fees” upfront of thousands of dollars before he performed “services” for them). 
    Besides the many clients who called the discipline committees (and were told to try the Attorney General instead), I personally filed detailed complaints with two of the Committees, one at the end 1997, when there were only a few hundred victims.  Both times, no action was taken, supposedly because I was not an actual client and so my complaints were hypothetical.   I believe a main reason was the refusal to question the use of contingency fees.
    No action was taken against Capoccia until he was found to be in contempt of numerous courts for failing to comply with their orders and filing frivolous claims.  Thus, no precedent was created to help deter others from continuing the “debt reduction services” scam and the collection of inflated, upfront ”reverse contingency fees” (based on the amazing prediction of being able to reduce the client’s debts by 60 – 70%, and then charging 25% of that predicted debt reduction).  Clients were told to immediately stop making payments on all debt (so as to put pressure on the creditor to reduce their debts).  Thus, many people who at the time still had good credit ratings had their credit ruined or were forced into bankruptcy, the very thing they had hoped to avoid.  With Capoccia disbarred for his conduct at court, his partners continued the same practices and even spread across the border to other states.
    As far as disgorgement:  Capoccia and his wife and former partners are now defendents in federal indictments charging fraud and grand larceny.  As I had predicted when begging the discipline committees to act, the delays apparently allowed Capoccia to hide away the clients’ moneys and the firm profits.  At this point, virtually no money has been recovered to repay to clients. 

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 9, 2003 @ 9:47 pm

  7. In Oklahoma, attorney’s fees and costs have priority over hospital and other medical provider liens when a personal injury lawsuit is settled. Question: What if the Plaintiff who is seriously injured in an automobile accident, settles a lawsuit with the Defendant, say the driver of the other vehicle, for $100,000. Attorneys fees are $30,000 and current costs total $2,000. Assume their is a valid hospital lien for services rendered to Plaintiff for $50,000. Plaintiff, however is not done suing and wants to release Defendant and bring in manufacturer of car and other Defendants into lawsuit. Plaintiff wants to use the remaining $68,000 to go after the manufacturer of the automobile and other possible Defendants. Plaintiff needs this money to use for costs and expenses to pursue this additional litigation. Does hospital lien attach to $68,000 or can attorney claim that money will be used for future costs and expenses and therefore attorney lien has priority?

    42 O.S. sec. 43 states the hospital shall …have a lien upon that part going or belonging to such patient…, therefore if the money never goes or belongs to the patient, but instead goes to the attorney to be used for future costs and expenses the lien never attaches.

    However, how do you deal with the ethical issue of safekeeping property?

    Comment by Brian Huddleston — June 11, 2003 @ 4:02 pm

  8. In Oklahoma, attorney’s fees and costs have priority over hospital and other medical provider liens when a personal injury lawsuit is settled. Question: What if the Plaintiff who is seriously injured in an automobile accident, settles a lawsuit with the Defendant, say the driver of the other vehicle, for $100,000. Attorneys fees are $30,000 and current costs total $2,000. Assume their is a valid hospital lien for services rendered to Plaintiff for $50,000. Plaintiff, however is not done suing and wants to release Defendant and bring in manufacturer of car and other Defendants into lawsuit. Plaintiff wants to use the remaining $68,000 to go after the manufacturer of the automobile and other possible Defendants. Plaintiff needs this money to use for costs and expenses to pursue this additional litigation. Does hospital lien attach to $68,000 or can attorney claim that money will be used for future costs and expenses and therefore attorney lien has priority?

    42 O.S. sec. 43 states the hospital shall …have a lien upon that part going or belonging to such patient…, therefore if the money never goes or belongs to the patient, but instead goes to the attorney to be used for future costs and expenses the lien never attaches.

    However, how do you deal with the ethical issue of safekeeping property?

    Comment by Brian Huddleston — June 11, 2003 @ 4:02 pm

  9. You’ve presented an interesting dilemma.   I wouldn’t think that an attorney’s duty of safekeeping the property of a client extends to circumventing valid liens held by others.  Hasn’t the issue of when the attorney’s fees and costs are totalled for purposes of distinguishing between funds to go to the attorney and those going to the client been addressed in your jurisdiction? 
    If I can figure out how to make your question into a separate topic for Discussion, would you want me to do that, in the hope of getting input from others?

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 11, 2003 @ 11:22 pm

  10. You’ve presented an interesting dilemma.   I wouldn’t think that an attorney’s duty of safekeeping the property of a client extends to circumventing valid liens held by others.  Hasn’t the issue of when the attorney’s fees and costs are totalled for purposes of distinguishing between funds to go to the attorney and those going to the client been addressed in your jurisdiction? 
    If I can figure out how to make your question into a separate topic for Discussion, would you want me to do that, in the hope of getting input from others?

    Comment by David Giacalone — June 11, 2003 @ 11:22 pm

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