Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney Fraudulent Retainer Invoices
Between April 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm and Midnight on April 30, 2015 the Law Firm worked enough hours to justify a $20,429.70 bill.
The Law Firm of Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney magically appeared in the City of Beaumont and was awarded a No-Bid Contract for ‘Interim’ City Attorney Services on April 28, 2015: : http://www.ci.beaumont.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/24370
The Contract was for a $7,500 Retainer Fee, which turned out to be a joke in many many ways.
On April 19, 2016 the Law Firm submitted a Summary Invoice listing the Retainer Fees Collected over the past year. Agenda Item 3.k: http://www.ci.beaumont.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/27451
The Law Firm claimed that they only charged the City $7,500 per month Retainer Fee as was written in their Contract and didn’t charge the City a Retainer Fee for the Month of April, 2015 at all – after all; the Law Firm wasn’t hired until April 28th.
However; the Law Firm of Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney Invoices show that the only time the Law Firm charged the City $7,500 Retainer Fee was for the month of April, 2015. SBEMP’s April, 2015 Invoice claimed that the Law Firm started working on April 24, 2015 and not only fulfilled the hours required for the $7,500 Retainer Fee, but also included $12,352.20 Over the Retainer Fee and another $577.50 for ‘Litigation’ bringing the Total charges for April, 2015 to $20,429.70.
The Law Firm of Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney was hired on April 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm.
Between April 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm and April 30, 2015 the Law Firm worked enough hours to justify a $20,429.70 bill.
Between June, 2015 and April, 2016 the Law Firm of Slovak Baron Empey Murphy Pinkney did NOT charge the City a $7,500/monthly Retainer as stated in the Contract and the Law Firm’s Summary.
The charges ranged from $7,647.12 to $9,042.55. Twice in Fiscal Year 2016, in December 2015 and March, 2016, the Law Firm submitted no Invoices at all.
Are there any laws in this State and Country regarding Fraud and Illegal Billing?
Yes – the California Bar Association is very clear about that:
Rule 4-200 Fees for Legal Services
(A) A member shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or collect an illegal or unconscionable fee.
(B) Unconscionability of a fee shall be determined on the basis of all the facts and circumstances existing at the time the agreement is entered into except where the parties contemplate that the fee will be affected by later events. Among the factors to be considered, where appropriate, in determining the conscionability of a fee are the following:
(1) The amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed.
(2) The relative sophistication of the member and the client.
(3) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly.
(4) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the member.
(5) The amount involved and the results obtained.
(6) The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances.
(7) The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client.
(8) The experience, reputation, and ability of the member or members performing the services.
(9) Whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
(10) The time and labor required.
(11) The informed consent of the client to the fee. (Amended by order of Supreme Court, operative September 14, 1992.)