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Have you ever been to court? Been sued?
If so, you know how excruciating it can be. People can lose lawsuits on technicalities OR because the other side will do anything to win.
Recently on reddit, somebody asked this question: Lawyers of reddit, what is the most unethical thing you have seen someone do for a lawsuit and won?
Get ready to be shocked (or not) by what people do to win at all costs.
1. So THIS is what evil looks like…
I started out working for a commercial law firm advising companies on environmental compliance. We had a client who was a large oil and gas distributor which owned a contaminated site in a populated area.
My boss advised the client to transfer ownership of the site to a newly incorporated limited liability company with no assets. That way, when the government ordered the site to be remediated, the client wouldn’t be liable for the clean-up.
I left not too long after that.
2. “Whore” doctor
For a year I worked for the most unethical attorney I have ever met. Here are my top two stories:
He took on a client that was injured at work. He sent him to a doctor that he would refer to as a “whore”. Since the attorney normally does defense work, the doctor came back saying the injury was clearly not work related. The attorney called the doctor to inform him that he represented the employee and not the employer in this case. The doctor then wrote a report that the injury was clearly work related.
One afternoon the attorney’s assistant ran into my room and said I need to go the courthouse right now to defend the attorney in a traffic case. Attorney told me he had no run-ins with law enforcement before, had never been ticketed before, and would just like to get supervision. I go in front of the judge and present this information and I get him supervision. I go back to the office and curiosity got the best of me. I searched his criminal record. Yeah, turns out he had another outstanding speeding ticket and you could see his mugshot for domestic violence.
Oh, and he tried to fine me $5,000 for going to a doctor’s appointment on my lunch break. Yup at that point I literally walked out.
3. “…he completely slanders my dad.”
Obligatory “not a lawyer”, but my parents got caught up in a slimy lawyer’s talons.
Basically, they had carpet installed in their house in 2005, paid in cash, got a receipt, and went on with their lives.
7 years later, they get a letter from some law firm saying the company they’d had install their carpet never received payment and would press charges if they didn’t pay up. My dad, being the paranoid fuck he is, had kept the receipt and said he’d see them in court. He did some research, found out what the attorney can and can’t do in this situation, and also found out that the attorney had been working with the flooring company for years, accusing paying customers of not paying and collecting excess money from them under threat of lawsuit.
Fast-forward to the court date. Dad shows up knowing his rights, with the receipt stating exactly how much he paid and when. Attorney has nothing except a copy of the invoice for my dad’s payment that he leaves in his folder the whole time. Not only does the attorney break almost every rule of court possible, he completely slanders my dad. Calling him “sketchy looking” and “dishonest” even though the receipt is literally right there in front of him, insists that the receipt is fake despite having a copy of the invoice, real shitty stuff.
My dad lost that case. Before anyone had even left the courtroom, the attorney walked up to chat with the judge, who asked if they were still on for brunch tomorrow. Because it was a super small circuit, this dude had been able to buddy up to a judge to the extent he was allowed to do basically whatever he wanted and still win his cases.
A year later my parents sued the attorney for misconduct and requested an out-of-circuit judge, who essentially told that slimy schmuck to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up when he tried to pull something against the rules.
They won that case.
4. “I ROUTINELY saw cops lie…”
When I was working as a public defender in the Detroit state court I ROUTINELY saw cops lie about the existence of video recordings of an event. The law says they have to have the cams running when they make a stop, but in all the cases I saw not a single cop was ever able to produce a video. Either the video had “malfunctioned,” been “accidentally deleted” after the event, or the camera was “broken.”
It was a weird place to work. The cops very much viewed the defense lawyers and the legal process as their enemy. I’m sure there were a lot of unjust outcomes as a result.
5. In n Out… what the f**k?!
In n Out burger sued my company for using their name. We have a similar name and are in a state that doesn’t have In n Out burger. And we are in the automotive industry.
In n Out burger purchased a body shop so they could tell the court that they too were in the automotive industry. Mind you they bought it after they sued us and were looking like they were going to lose.
We “won” the lawsuit.
6. “…if you google his name domestic violence comes up.”
Not a lawyer, but my dad sued his previous workplace for reasons.
Long story short, the company’s lawyer kept bringing up/suggesting he was guilty of domestic violence.
He wasn’t. At all. She just wanted to make him look bad.
But now if you google his name domestic violence comes up.
I thought that would qualify as slander or something, but I guess not. I don’t know how to make the little shrugging guy and I’m not going to go find it.
7. “…get the guy out of a coma long enough to sign a statement…”
A friend of a friend woke up in a hospital. He has no idea what happened but he was brought out of an induced coma from a bike wreck. The car he ended up under was owned by a lawyer. The lawyer and a cop forced the doctors to get the guy out of a coma long enough to sign a statement when no family was present.
The lawyer never mentioned to the doctor that it was he who was driving and not a person he represented.
The lawyer then went on the sue for damages on his car by the guy and his bicycle.
8. Mom of the year!
Mom had her 7 year old daughter lie on the stand.
Mother claimed bodily injuries from a motor vehicle accident. She forced her 7 year old daughter to testify at trial. The mother coached the daughter to say that the mother was in the car at the time of the accident.
It became very apparent that the mother was not in the car at the time of the accident because the mother couldn’t recall where the accident occurred or which parts of the vehicles were damaged.
9. “…she kept asking “have you ever had your DNA taken?”
Not a lawyer, but I know of a pretty fucked up case. It’s kind of a two parter.
Lesbian woman I knew got married, and everyone thought the two women were happy. Turns out, lesbian’s wife was a con artist who was essentially “gay for pay” until her REAL fiancé (who was on board with this whole plan) had been at his job long enough for benefits to kick in (his employer at the time did not provide benefits until after at least a year of employment). Real fiancé had been unemployed for a long time, hence the long con with Lesbian woman. She needed to suck the woman in, and then get married so that she could get on the lesbian’s insurance and also to convince her to pay for a phone.
Literally those were the only two reasons the female con artist was with the lesbian, health insurance and a cell phone.
Lesbian and female con artist get married at the beginning of summer. So, real fiancé gets his employee benefits about 7 months into the marriage of female con artist and lesbian. Meanwhile, this whole time, female con artist is “cheating” (if you could really call it that, since she was never really loyal to lesbian) on her wife with real fiancé. So, once real fiancé gets his benefits, female con artist tells lesbian “I was only with you for the insurance and a phone” and bounces. Female con artist files for divorce and lesbian is told by all law enforcement and every lawyer she consults that there is nothing she can do about basically getting conned because 1: con artist used her real name on all the documents, so the marriage wasn’t fraudulent, and 2: you would have purchased those things for your spouse anyway, so you have no real damages to sue for. So, basically lesbian is heartbroken AND completely screwed over. Since there were no kids, and the marriage lasted less than a year, divorce was final in some ridiculously short time, like a month (it may have been an annulment).
Flash forward two months later, we get a call from lesbian’s mother: she’s on the way to the hospital because she was just notified that lesbian had been raped and was in the middle of getting a rape kit done.
The story she told the cops was that she had been driving down the road, and someone posing as a cop was following her, eventually pulled her over and raped her in the backseat of her own car on the side of some famously poorly lit road. Well, cops start investigating. Lesbian’s whole story starts to unravel when they check the surveillance footage at a gas station that she would have HAD to pass by before turning onto the poorly lit road where the rape allegedly took place, only to discover that not only had nobody been following her, but she was the only car to drive in that direction for over 45 minutes. But, her rape kit came up positive… how could the be you ask? Cops did some digging and found a profile lesbian had made on some dating site. They get a warrant and find out she made plans to hook up with some guy. They track him down and he tells them everything he knows. He made plans to meet up with this woman (who turned out to be our lesbian) he met online, and as they are getting ready to have sex (and a few times during) she kept asking “have you ever had your DNA taken?,” “ever had it tested?,” “Are you SURE you’ve never had your DNA tested?” etc. Side note: that part is proof that no guy ever thinks clearly when he wants to get laid. Back to the story. So, cops take a sample of dating site guy’s DNA to test against the DNA from the rape kit: it’s a match. Cops figure out that lesbian faked the rape by hooking up with this guy so there would be DNA, said that the person impersonated a cop as a plausible reason why she would have pulled over where she “did”, and tried to say it happened somewhere that everyone knew there would be no direct evidence of her being there. The final question remained, why go through all that though?
Cops confront lesbian very carefully.
They don’t want it to seem like they “don’t believe her” just because she’s a lesbian, even though they have PROOF that she has been lying this whole time. When confronted, lesbian admits everything: the dating site profile, setting up dating site guy, lying, everything. Cops ask her why. She tells them about female con artist and somehow she reasoned with herself that if she suffered some sort of tragedy (like a rape), then female con artist would come back and get back together with her. Like someone who conned you so intimately would really care, even if she really had been raped. She is initially arraigned very quickly, and in the intervening time it turns out that the cops tracked down female con artist and got a statement from her. For some reason, female con artist is in the court room when lesbian is there getting arraigned. Now remember, the fake rape happened just two months after the divorce/annulment (whichever it was). This arraignment was maybe a month after the initial rape report was filed, so figure three months since they last saw each other (as a supposedly committed lesbian couple). Female con artist is SEVEN AND A HALF MONTHS PREGNANT!!! She got pregnant by real fiancé at the beginning of fall, so she was able to hide it under heavy sweaters and such. So, she was like four and a half months pregnant when the original split with lesbian happened. To this day, nobody knows why female con artist was there during the arraignment.
OK, so the prosecution takes FOREVER.
For one reason or another, there were constant delays both by lesbian’s lawyer and the prosecutors office where this was happening. They were GOING to throw everything they could at lesbian because of all the money and manpower spent on the investigation, plus it had been somewhat high profile in that town. Charges included manufacturing evidence, filing a false police report, obstruction of justice, and a bunch of others that I have forgotten. She was looking at five years in prison, easily. Finally, lesbian gets her lawyer to tell the prosecutor that if they don’t let lesbian plead down to some ridiculous misdemeanor, then at trial they were going to make it look like she was only being prosecuted because she is a lesbian.
It was an election year, and the district attorney was terrified of not getting re-elected, so they made the deal. She should have gotten at least five years in prison, but got off with a year probation. I know this, especially this last paragraph, because lesbian’s mother (who was paying for the lawyer and should have been offended by her daughter’s actions because mother was an ACTUAL rape victim), called my dad and regularly kept him up to date. She was PROUD of the fact that they basically blackmailed the prosecutor into a deal.
If you don’t believe me, DM me and I will give you a link to an article that was published on a news website about it.
10. Photoshop skillzzzz
Law student here.
Opposing counsel, in an asbestos wrongful death matter, cropped and pasted a baby into decedent’s family photo as part of evidence.
It looked so fake, no one was even holding the baby.
OC’s poor attempt to gain more sympathy from potential jury.
Decedent’s family got a nice settlement though.
11. Squeezing it for all it’s worth…
Bumped the back of a Chevy Malibu at a red light back in 1993. Lady claimed she had to be on disability as a result.
My car was a Honda crx. The compression thingies in the front bumper weren’t collapsed which indicated it was less than 10km/hr impact.
In court I was shown a photo of their car and it looked like they backed into a tree (central dent and huge).
She won the case against my insurance company. No idea how to this day.
12. “…stealing money from the joint accounts as they ran away.”
A man who was a customer for the construction company I worked for at the time was a real piece of work.
What hurricane sandy hit, I tree fell over and hit into his sons room and made a hole in the ceiling. He then decided for the family to take a vacation after the storm and to let the hole and tree be…for a bit more than a month. This way there was massive amounts of water damage and the houses got to be labeled as unlivable.
He did this so that not only could he collect massive amounts of money from the insurance and from the government, but to also turn around and sue them for much more money. He got all that money. He had his old house torn down and hired my company to build his brand new state of the art mansion that he planned.
What the company didn’t know is that this guy was a serial lawsuit filer. He sues everyone all the time. He had a decent paying job but he makes the bulk of his money more from lawsuits it seems. He sued the bank once for a misfiling and somehow got tons of money from that. He then turned around and sued the lawyer he had for that bank case for not getting him as much money as he wanted. He won that one too somehow.
The project ended up being a nightmare, he had two people who were not licensed architects writing up his blueprints and getting them stamped by a sloppy licensed architect that didn’t review the blue prints (prob so he could sue later. and when I say sloppy, the head of my company had to point out how the roof was sticking into the body of the garage and how the steps didn’t match up and make it to the different floors, ect. and then give it back to the customer to have them redo it all (multiple times)). Customer also would not contact the plumber in time to do the work on the days needed to there were many wasted days, customer would not pay any of the bills on time when they were due, and we then found out later that they were taking doctored pictures the whole time of the property when company was not one the scene at the time and calling the town for trash complaints (complaining about wood, pipes, metal, and other materials sitting in back of property and on sides, not real trash) on his own plot of land during construction so that he could sue us later on.
As the job was starting to finish up, it was about 6 months behind schedule due to all these problems and more that were outside of our control. The head of the company I was with was going to a European country for a wedding of their nephew and that was prefaced and known before the project was accepted. When they left for said wedding, customer tried to directly contract one of the subcontractors to take over and do the whole project (illegal and written as forbidden to even talk prices of anything in contract with subcontractor), and put into motion the whole bologna lawsuit against our company.
Unfortunately the company I was with came back to pure hell and arguments and then pulled out of the project and planned to sue the customer when he refused to pay his next installment and the installment that had been overdue by a month. Left the house in a terrible limbo for a while since no one else could work with the licensed new material my company was using on his home. On top of that, the lawyer that our company hired to sue the customer went AWOL and they had to find a new lawyer that did nothing for months. So instead they got paper work in the mail telling them that the customer was suing them for breaking contract (not true and the other way around). This lead to the new business partner screwing over the Head of the company and stealing money from the joint accounts as they ran away. Ultimately leading to the head of the construction company closing down their business/HOC’s life work, from all the lost money.
They never got to counter sue to customer and the customer had to drop the case because they really didn’t have anything. In the end though, they got to have half of their new mansion built for 1/16 of the price before getting someone new to finish it up and they screwed an honest company out of business.
TLDR: Fraudulent customer is a serial lawsuiter and forces head of company to lose nearly everything.
13. So THIS is what evil looks like… part 2
Lawyer for 12 years here, specializing in estates and trusts.
My client was challenging the will her husband left behind, giving the wife and son an equal split of the sizable inheritance he left behind.
The son used to have an opiod addiction, but had been in treatment and a program, and had been clean for over 5 years.
My client hired a private investigator who befriended the son and pushed him to start using again, selling him a few pills on hidden camera.
The wife ended up using the video to successfully convince the judge her husband was under the impression their son was clean when he wrote the will, but since the video showed he still had a serious drug problem, the will could be challenged and he couldn’t be trusted with his inheritance.
She got the entire estate, and the son ended up dying a few years later from an overdose.
That last one is absolutely tragic.
What’s wrong with people!?!?