gnome wrote:That's really the crux isn't it. If NBRC has no assets, I expect any lawyer to turn me down. But I'm not honestly sure what their status is. In a contingency arrangement, is it typical for a law office to research the assets of the company or owner a client wants to sue, or is it on the client to show that the company has assets worth suing for?
I suppose it may depend on the law office. At least in my state it is relatively easy to check on the corporate status of a business entity and see who the agent for service of process is and who the nominal owner(s) is/are (can't speak for FL). It is also fairly easy to check to see if that entity or its owners is/are in bankruptcy. Both those things take up real time (and cost nominal but real fees to search), however, and I can only speak for myself, but I wouldn't do those things on my time or my dime in a case of small stature (even under the best of circumstances, if everything lines up just right for you, you are probably looking at damages at most in the very low five figures if you even have a case to pursue, so my potential fee is what -- maybe $4,000 in three years' time, if we're lucky?, and this would likely have me putting in 20-50 hours of my time from start to finish in a possible lawsuit? no thanks).
I would charge you 1-2 hours of my time just to look into that, so about $500 just to see if they are worth pursuing, and then there is no guarantee of success. Even if I did determine they had some assets, there is still no way I would take such a small possible consumer fraud case on a contingency fee basis. That leaves me taking all the risk for at best a small reward. No thanks. I've got bigger fish to fry, ones that pay me in actual money, not pots of magical gold at the end of a long, expensive rainbow that I pay for up front, or at least ones with a definite source of recovery and clear liability. That's not your case.
I had it in my head that they were in a better position to know, and would give me the news after I get them the initial details.
Even if they are, unless your possible damages are much more than I'm guessing they could be under the best of circumstances for you, I'm guessing the economics of the risk vs. reward don't work for them. I know for me, if someone like you showed up in my office, with an appointment of course, I wouldn't even consider taking your case on contingency for even an instance, and even if you offered to plunk down a $5,000 retainer and let me bill against that hourly, I still wouldn't take it. Why? Because I would spend more time on your case than that retainer warrants and likely come up with nothing for you in the end.
What would that get me? A pissed off client who is out $5,000 with nothing to show for it but a legal bill. You would bad mouth me to others and possibly file a complaint with the state bar that I would have to respond to, spending even more of my time and money. Bottom line: it would end badly for both of us, and we would both resent each other when it's over.
In the real world, I would say "No" under any circumstances, in all likelihood. I would tell you the truth that you got burned, the insurance company got burned, and neither you nor I would be better served by your hiring me to throw good money after bad. I would politely decline to represent you and advise you to be more careful with regard to any solicitation in the future.
But that's just me. Look into it yourself with a local lawyer and see. You might get a different answer, you might not.