December 5, 2012

The Tale of Dale Fotsch.

Have you heard of Dale Fotsch? This woman owes her lawyer $180,000 despite winning the lawsuit and being awarded the costs. Why? Because her ex-(common-law) husband declared bankruptcy. She's in the horrible situation of having her lawyer foreclose on the very home he was hired to help her keep. It's the Jugular of Irony.

There's three things that upset me about this: the first is with a legal system that allows someone with nothing to lose to engage another person in litigation, and then bail from all accountability by declaring bankruptcy. How can this be?

The second thing is that there seems to be no effective regulating body for lawyers. This lawyer was in a position of conflict of interest - how can a lawyer protect a client's assets if they have an interest in them? Amiright?

Thirdly, there's a problem with legal fees. They're beyond reach for most people; $300 per hour may seem insanely expensive but I've seen worse. I know someone who's divorce lawyer was in the $700 range. Yikes.

A lawyer's job is to advocate on behalf of a client, to argue their case for them, and to represent their interests. But people will make bad decisions when they are afraid, as many folks are when put into a situation of's intimidating.

Anyhoo, the fabulous Chris Bird started an Indiegogo campaign to try to help Dale Fotsch. Please share it! Here's the campaign and here's an easy click-to-tweet. We may not put a dent in her outrageous debt, but perhaps we can generate enough social media noise to make others beware of the big, big holes in the legal system.

Do you think that she agreed to her lawyer's deal and she owes him the money? Or do you think that Dale Fotsch's lawyer is being an asshole?