Over one year ago, Mr. John A. Case, Jr. contacted the Small Firms Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association in an attempt to locate an expert witness that had experience in both commercial and residential properties. He was in dire need of someone on short notice that could assist him on a case being heard at the Santa Monica Superior Court, in which he was representing the plantiff.
Mr. Case contacted me regarding being designated as a substitute expert witness. His prior expert resigned due to medical reasons. He indicated this was a rush situation since there was only one week to prepare for deposition and trial was to follow shortly thereafter.
After agreeing upon the terms and conditions of the assignment, a small retainer was received and all other jobs were turned down to be able to allocate the necessary time and resources to this case to ensure we could complete the assignment in the time constraints indicated.
Mr. Case was invoiced immediately following all pre-trial preparation, and before testimony, but payment was not forthcoming. Nor was a response even received from Mr. Case. The jury trial took place shortly after the deposition and still the attorney did not pay for services rendered or respond to my inquiries regarding lack of payment. After numerous emails and phone calls, I finally received a phone call informing me that his client had no funds.
I reminded Mr. Case, my contract was with him and not his client and, therefore, he was the party responsible for payment. I also told him I was concerned about a comment in his email that implied he had prior knowledge of the uncertainty of payment for my services at the time I was initially retained and yet, he had failed to disclose that to me. Mr. Case did not respond to any of my concerns.
Numerous emails and phone calls were made during the months that followed and two small payments were received during that time period from Mr. Case. In an attempt to work with Mr. Case and collect my fees that were now considerably past due, I offered on more than one occasion, various payment plans for Mr. Case. To my dismay, Mr. Case never once responded to any of my offers for installment payments and often it required numerous attempts to even receive a response to my inquiries.
Four months later, I contacted the attorney with the Los Angeles County Bar Association that had referred him to me. I explained the difficulty and lack of cooperation in being paid for services rendered and she contacted Mr. Case in attempt to have him resolve this matter in an expeditious fashion. Her attempts to have him fullfill his end of the agreement also failed.
I continued over the next few months to resolve this issue with Mr. Case, but it was to no avail. Finally, I contacted the State Bar Association to file a complaint. They contacted Mr. Case and he told them he would contact me, but never did.
When I contacted him the following week, he would not talk to me and said I could take the matter up with his attorney, Mr. Robert Charboneau, Esq. in Burbank. It was no surprise that attempts to contact Mr. Charboneau were futile and I was never even given the courtesy of a return phone call.
I tried again this year to contact Mr. Case, but he will not even give me the professional courtesy of reply phone call or email response. Mr. Case has had over a year to arrange payments or pay his invoice in full, but neither of these options appear to be of importance to him.
Mr. Case still occupies office space in the high rent district of Century City, but can only be reached at his office by appointment only. So, his cooperation to even resolve this matter in person is not possible. Although Mr. Case is not quick to pay for services rendered, he was quick to make certain he gave himself proper recognition on his website for winning this case and receiving a jury award of $1.5 million dollars for his client. Last I heard, the case was up for appeal, but no further details are known, since Mr. Case refuses to acknowledge my messages.
So, the question is, if Mr. Case can continue to to meet his own monthly obligations over the past year, then obviously he possesses the necessary funds to pay for my services that were rendered in February 2010. It is hoped that by posting this, fellow expert witnesses will be warned that to agree to do expert witness work for Mr. John A. Case, Jr. is an agreement to do it on a pro-bono basis.
Mr. Case has never denied being obligated to pay for my expert witness services. In fact, he even stated in an email, "...we couldn't have done it without your help at the last minute. Thank you very, very much!" Unfortunately, accolades of a job well done do not pay the bills nor do they make restituion for non-payment of services for the past year.
At this point in time, it is obvious Mr. Case has no intentions of making good on his agreement. He knows that if this matter is taken to Small Claims Court, I will forfeit part of the monies owed due to the dollar limit allowed. Then, there is the matter of even trying to collect on the judgment afterwards.
It is truly unfortunate that such people continue to portray themselves as being professional when their behavior obviously dictates otherwise.