It’s a common retort: Sue your lawyer for malpractice, and they accuse you of being litigious. That was the response of Jeff Deen, Rose Burch Stabler’s attorney whom she is suing for malpractice. But is she really litigious or is she enforcing her rights?
According to Brendan Kirby’s July 23, 2013 article on al.com titled Kenny Stabler’s Ex-Wife Sues Lawyer in Criminal Case for Legal Malpractice, after separating from her famous husband, Ms. Stabler fought the federal government to keep the Ono Island marital home that her husband agreed to sell to pay his tax debt. Ms. Stabler maintained she never signed the agreement to sell and was uninformed of key details of the agreement. A federal judge ruled against her, and the IRS sold the home at auction. She then sued the IRS claiming it improperly sold the home, but she did not prevail.
She sued her divorce attorney, Mark Ryan, for malpractice arising out of the IRS lien on the marital home. In 2009 a judge threw out the malpractice as untimely filed.
Ms. Stabler was in court for a hearing in her fraud suit against Robert Galloway, Kenny Stabler’s attorney in the IRS tax litigation, when the authorities detained her for allegedly using intravenous drugs in the courthouse bathroom. There was no needle found at the scene, no needle marks on her arms, no drugs in her purse, and her urine test was negative. Nevertheless, the judge found her guilty of disorderly conduct citing her reaction to the allegations.
And here is where criminal defense attorney Jeff Deen and Ms. Stabler’s allegations of malpractice come in. The judge who presided over Ms. Stabler’s criminal disorderly case was the same judge who presided over her five-year divorce from Kenny Stabler, which at the time was still on appeal. Ms. Stabler alleges in her malpractice suit against Mr. Deen that she asked him to challenge the judge’s presiding over her criminal case, but that Deen did not do so. The malpractice suit further alleges that according to Alabama court procedure, when an assigned judge recuses him/herself, the Alabama Supreme Court or the presiding judge in the local circuit is authorized to appoint another judge. The suit alleges neither was done, and that Deen failed to raise the issue. Ms. Stabler, who claims the judge was prejudiced against her because of the divorce case, was found guilty of disorderly conduct and fined. According to Ms. Stabler’s malpractice attorney:
There is absolutely no way to reopen that criminal case. She’s got a conviction that’s hanging over her for the rest of her life.
So, is Ms. Stabler litigious? Maybe. Was she just trying to get justice in the IRS matter? Perhaps. The only truth is that litigiousness cannot be determined by simply counting the number of lawsuits someone is involved in. And it certainly cannot be determined by reading an article or blog post that may or may not be slanted.
And what about Kenny Stabler? According to NBC Sports Pro Football Talk, Mr. Stabler “leads” the concussion lawsuit against the NFL, shadowed by his $265,000 debt to the IRS. Does that make him litigious?
You’ve got options. The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field. Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.