Jeffrey Doud's Legal Malpractice -- Buisness as Usual in Montana?

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Timothy Geiszler will have to answer to Jeff Doud for this. In a July 2 filing, Geiszler went on an all out assault on my mother's mental health in what seems like a last ditch attempt to bully her into settlement with Steve Loken. He used a claim that my mother made about Mr. Doud's conspiring with Loken's camp to ruin her case to back up his assertions. So, here I explain why the use of the word conspiracy could indeed apply to Mr. Doud's actions, and why any reasonable person would come to such a conclusion. (Again, the Geiszler has pulled a quote from Mom's effort to amend her counterclaim against Loken to include civil conspiracy. The quote centers around the discovery request issue elaborated on below.)

After what I've seen, I feel comfortable stating that Mr. Doud should not be allowed to practice law. He is a young attorney whose ethical/professional sensibility was clearly quickly shaped by the Montana culture of cronyism. It's hard to imagine his moral compass being righted enough to entrust him with any unassuming client. (Having Tim McKeon as a father-in-law can't help.)

Doud took over the Loken case in fall of 2007 because Mom's other attorney was doing little on the case. Initially that attorney was very enthusiastic, but was never the same after a meeting with Mr. Geisler, at which he told her Mom was paranoid. (We have called Geiszler on this bit of slander -- clearly the incompetency angle has been part of his and Loken's plans for quite a while.)

In January of 2008, without informing his client, Mr. Doud propounded a second set of discovery requests on Mr. Loken. A year earlier, Mom's first attorney had received answers to discovery requests. The original attorney had asked around 14 questions. Mr. Doud asked around 80. This was in no way helpful to Mom's case -- the questions gave Mr. Loken the opportunity to elaborate upon and revise his narrative of what happened. It also allowed him to produce a schematic that my mother had never seen before, and that Loken claimed she provided.

Though Doud found the time to do this, he ignored Mom's pleas to follow up on details essential to her case like a previously-ignored Request for Production to get copies of canceled checks showing Loken's supposed $14000 worth of payments to an employee for work that was never finished. (Mom later followed up when she was defending herself pro se and newly printed versions of these supposedly already produced checks were submitted to court. This was that point at which an unrecognized attorney from Geiszler's firm started filing. This was completely against procedure, but Judge Deschamps never required this other attorney to become an attorney of record. It seemed like Geiszler was trying to put distance between himself and fabricated financial records.)

Mom didn't find out about the second set of discovery requests until around the end of October 2008 when Mr. Doud was no longer her attorney and she received her file from him. Attorneys are required to operate with their clients' informed consent. First, the requests obviously should not have been propounded without her knowledge. Second, if a defendant has no knowledge of the plaintiff's revised narrative of what occurred based on answers to 80 discovery questions, how can she make informed decisions about what direction to take the case?

If an attorney takes action in secret that is so clearly favorable to the opposing side isn't it reasonable to assume that he is conspiring? Of course, that's not all. The depth and breadth of Jeffrey Doud's malpractice is astounding. Please see a partial list of his greatest hits after the jump.

What's frightening is that the malpractice is so objectively identifiable and true, and Mr. Geiszler is working so hard to brand Mom's identification of it as symptomatic of paranoia. Do attorneys ruin their client's cases without speaking to another about it? (It would take a great leap of faith to believe that Doud is innocently and overwhelmingly incompetent.) Speaking to one other person about it makes it conspiracy. Doud did a lot of speaking to Mr. Geiszler without Mom's consent. Maybe that's why he needs Mom to be "crazy." 
The judge has all of the information below. If someone comes before a judge having endured all of this, it's hard to imagine that the judge would conclude that the problem is her paranoia and not attorneys' ethical challenges. Unless he's invested in the paranoia narrative too.

Jeff Doud:

  • Delayed entering a substitution of counsel over a three month period until Mom's original lawyer withdrew. (When your lawyer withdraws, it looks bad -- much worse than if the attorney just files a substitution. To add insult to injury, Doud would later use that attorney's withdrawal as evidence that my mother has a pattern of asking her attorneys to perform unethical services that force them to withdraw.)
  • Represented himself as working for Wold Law Firm. This was why Mom agreed to work with him. He didn't ever create a retainer agreement, so Mom didn't know that she was supposedly a client of "McKeon Doud" until much later. All of his electronic and written correspondence was through Wold. McKeon Doud was created after Doud entered his appearance as Mom's counsel in the court, and it appears that she has been its only supposed client.
  • Withheld a total of 15 documents over a 12 month period (including 3 invoices for his first three months of representation).
  • Originally agreed to depose Mr. Loken but then changed his mind without his client's informed consent, and never performed this crucial deposition. He never gave Mom a copy of the scheduling order, so she did not know when discovery had ended and it was too late. After that deadline, Mr. Doud still corresponded with her as though he would still be able to depose Mr. Loken.
  • Without his client's knowledge or consent, named as the sole expert witness a person who has never seen the remodel, is not from Missoula, and therefore is not familiar with Missoula prices or billing practices. Doud gave Mom no information about him -- she didn't know he existed until Geiszler asked Mom about him in her deposition. Weeks before the trial was initially meant to occur, he had never spoken with anyone who had seen the job site, never issued a report of any kind, etc.
  • Without his client's knowledge or consent, prepared an erroneous lay witness and exhibit lists. Crucial witnesses were omitted and twelve of the twenty-six witnesses listed are affiliated with Loken. Three of them were individuals Mom had never heard of and she didn't think they even worked on her property. (Where would he get those names if not from Loken?)
  • Without his client's knowledge or consent, listed only a small fraction of the evidence necessary to present her case at trial. On the Exhibit List, he listed only six of over one hundred photographs Mom provided to him. The ones he chose do little or nothing to illustrate the facts of the case. Ten of the thirteen exhibits refer to items provided by the Plaintiff. He listed a "Scope of Work and Drawings Provided by Loken Builders" that Mom had never seen or heard of. While he listed these without consulting her, he left out scores of vital exhibits they had discussed. He led her to believe they could be submitted while he knew that discovery had closed (and she did not).
  • Did not allow for the submission of necessary potential witnesses and exhibits not yet identified.
  • Engaged in discussions with Mr. Geiszler (opposing counsel) without Mom's knowledge or consent.
  • Refused to inform his client about the procedure regarding foreclosure of her home if she should lose the case. She asked repeatedly about the procedure followed in a foreclosure. He never provided the correct information. Instead he insisted that she sign an Acknowledgment of Informed Consent stating that she understood that if she lost she could be found responsible for all attorney's fees and that the Loken could foreclose on her home. (She found out later from another attorney that in actuality if she lost, there was a simple means of ensuring the home was not foreclosed upon. Mr. Doud produced this document after a very skewed settlement conference at which Mom was pressured to settle under Loken's terms. It seems that Mr. Doud wanted his client to be under the impression that losing the case would make the loss of her home imminent.)
  • Never took appropriate action to have the lien removed from his client's property. There were a number of obvious ways to do this, and Doud did none of them, leaving Loken with the lien leverage.
  • Refused to speak with me when I began to advocate for my mother's interests in the case. We asked him to problem-solve around how I could be involved. He was very resistant because of his supposed concern over attorney-client privilege and his only solution was to have my mother declared incompetent (he wrote that he had no reason to believe she was, only that this would allow my involvement). We later learned from another attorney that I could become intimately involved as a registered agent for the LLC.
  • Accepted a "Proposed Pretrial Order" entered by Mr. Geiszler as an actual pretrial order. There was never a pretrial conference, and Mr. Doud never created a Defendants' Proposed pretrial order. Therefore, Mom was stuck with this illegitimate Proposed Pretrial Order that was completely favorable to Mr. Loken. It meant that the case was shaped for trial without Mom's knowledge, input or consent. And that her otherwise very good case was sucky.
  • Refused to meet with his client to discuss the Proposed Pretrial Order, and the witnesses, exhibits, etc. that should be entered.
  • When finally meeting with his client, discussed the addition of witnesses and exhibits as though the deadline had not passed and they could still be added. This amounted to deceiving her into believing that her case could still be accurately represented.
  • Refused to respond to numerous queries from his client after the issue of the Proposed Pretrial Order and lack of evidence and witnesses came to light.
  • Refused to tell his client why he had withheld 12 documents from her.
  • Hung up on client's daughter as she read the list of questions he had not responded to over the phone. He was on a Wold Law Firm line and presumably hung up so there would not be a Firm record of his malpractice.
  • Ignored repeated pleas to repair the damage he had done to the case.
  • Withdrew as counsel without notice three weeks before a trial setting hearing.
  • Discussed his withdrawal with Mr. Geiszler, but not with his client.
  • Lied about his reason for withdrawing as counsel, stating that he had not been paid for an invoice he had not yet sent to his client.
  • Slandered his former client in a court filing regarding his inappropriate withdrawal. If the slander had been true, it would have constituted a violation of attorney-client privilege.
  • Charged his client nearly $17,000 for the privilege of having her case destroyed. She paid it dutifully while he kept her in the dark about the true state of her case.
Again, the judge knows that all of this occurred.  He allowed the case to go to trial without the defendant ever having the opportunity to submit a Proposed Pretrial Order. A legitimate pretrial order was never created.

And on, and on...

~~

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1 Comments

Kate Zimmer said:

What was the outcome of this? I was looking to see if anyone else had problems with Mike Doud (Jeff's dad) and found this. Mike Doud built our house in Oregon and we found him to be unethical, dishonest, unprofessional, a bully, and to put it mildly, rude. He tried to intimidate us by telling us how his daughter is a paralegal and his son a lawyer in Montana. I remembered that bit because we have ties to Montana . It appears that the apple does not fall far from the tree. We don’t know whether we will sue him or not.

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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on July 5, 2009 1:04 PM.

John Boyle and David Ryan Took Over my Mother's Property without her Permission was the previous entry in this blog.

Chief Muir's Response: Not Much Accountability or Genuine Responsiveness Yet is the next entry in this blog.

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