Friday, March 2, 2012

S.A.G. Settlement - 9 years later

Strategic Alliance Group.   I reached out to two council persons to find out the terms of the settlement  What is the settlement?  Council voted on it.  Why the secrecy?  The Settlement Agreement should be attached to the Resolution approving the settlement.  More importantly, it should be disclosed at the Council meeting and not just referred to in a Resolution.  TAXPAYERS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE PAYING.

Can anyone imagine waiting nine (9) years for a resolution to a lawsuit?   Besides which the Judge calls out your own lawyers' statements (here, that would be Linden's lawyers and for which, I believe we paid them over a million dollars) TO BE INAPPROPRIATE.  Yet Linden taxpayers gave these very lawyers even more money and that was back in 2010.  

Could it be that the lawyer's fees exceeded the recovery?  Probably.   The judge wasn't too kind to Linden's lawyers, which Judge had this to say back in 2010:

  • "The City also stated that it would file a Motion to Enforce Settlement against the LaVans by the end of July. While no motion was filed in July, on December 8, 2008 the City moved to enforce its settlement agreement with the LaVans.Strategic Alliance Group, et al vs. City of Linden, et al."
  • "Here neither the City nor the LaVans moved to reopen this matter within the 90 days provided by ¶1 of the Court’s Order of Dismissal."
  • "Similarly, neither the City nor the LaVans ever made a request that the 90 day period set forth in ¶1 of the Court’s Order be extended.Instead, over 9 months or 270 days elapsed before any party informed the Court that there was an issue with the settlement reached in this matter."
  • While the City may have believed that the matter was settled and that therefore there was no reason to move to reopen the case in accordance with ¶1, the City fails to explain why, when it became apparent that the settlement would not be consummated within 90 days, it failed to request that the 90 day period be extended."
  • "Instead, nearly two years after the Order of Dismissal was entered, the City filed the instant Motion to Enforce and the LaVans’ opposed same."
  • "With respect to counsel’s Certifications, the Court finds that in addition to statements of facts, certain portions of Steven J. Eisenstein and Paul A. Sandars, III’s Certifications filed in  reply to the City’s Motion to Enforce Settlement contain factual arguments that are inappropriate under L.Civ.R. 7.2(a). (See, e.g., ¶¶ 5, 9 and 11 (among others) of the Eisenstein and Sandars’ Certifications).

The certifications the Court was referring to were the lawyers for Linden.

See here for the full Judge's Report.

Council members need to start reading up on Judge's report.  Council should, if it didn't, dismiss these lawyers and not pay their fee.  But what Council did was pay these inappropriate and late filing lawyers fees that exceeded a MILLION DOLLARS.

No one from our own law department oversaw this lawsuit?   No lawyer from our own law department diaryed the 90-day settlement before the matter was dismissed?   Here we are almost 2 and half years later and we are still jerking around with this case?  Hell, I even forgot all about it even though I wrote about it extensively here.  The longer the case goes on, the better for the lawyers, who, in turn, can give more money to political causes, right?

Can I believe any current or new council person can remember this lawsuit or that our own politically-connected lawyers advise our politically council members without a conflict?  I don't think so.    Who do they rely upon when they are called to vote on a settlement?  Do they even review the litigation papers or just go with what the politically-connected lawyers tell them to do?

Can anyone imagine a lawyer taking this long to resolve a dispute, and then charging you more than what you sued for?  It doesn't happen in the real world, for the most part.

And that's what you get when lawyers charge $150 or whatever low figure it is they charged.  Plus they have to make political contributions to get these contracts.

A real Bargain Barn.


Anonymous said...

How about a nice fat legal malpractice lawsuit, Linden.....?

NFS said...

Either one of two things happened.

1. Council wasn't aware of the screw-up by the lawyers; or

2. Council knew and yet paid these shysters more money.

Which do you think happened? Either is possible.

Do our council members get every court document when we are involved in litigation? Who, on behalf of Linden taxpayers, keeps track of these cases? Anyone? Or do we just rely on what the lawyers say?