Interviewer: How do you get compensated in these cases?
Andrew: I do not ask for any money up front. The client is not liable for any of my attorney fees, whatsoever. I get paid when the client gets paid. The only risk the client ever has is that they are responsible for costs. I will advance costs but the client is liable.
Costs simply means the filing fee for the lawsuit, serving the lawsuit, deposition transcripts; that kind of thing. Again, I advance those costs. I pay those. But under the rules of ethics in the state of Michigan, the client, unless they are indigent, has to be responsible for those costs. There is very little risk, generally speaking.
Interviewer: What is the split or the percentage of the total winnings or earnings that you ask for as compensation?
Andrew: It depends upon the amount of the settlement. If it is less than $10,000, it is a 50/50 split, less the costs. Let’s say the settlement was $8000 and I had advanced $300 in costs. Then we would take 300 off the top. That would leave $7,700 and we would split that. If it is over $10,000, my fee is 40%, less costs. Anything over $20,000, my fee is a third.
Most of my cases involve settlements of less than $10,000.
Interviewer: How long will this take on average once someone decides they want to file a suit? Also, does filing a suit usually stop the calls right away or do they continue even after you sue somebody?
Andrew: Yes, if they are smart.
Interviewer: At least you hope they continue.
Andrew: Typically, I do not file a suit until the calls have stopped. Usually the client is happy to ignore the calls and get more money. Then once the calls have stopped for a good month or so, we file a lawsuit. The client has no duty.
There is a definition and there is a principle law called mitigation that says you have to lessen the damages to yourself. You have an obligation. You can’t sit or sleep on your rights and allow yourself to continue to be damaged. That is unfair.
But that principle does not apply in these circumstances. You can let the calls go on and on and on. I think of it as $500 to $1500 in my pocket if the calls keep continuing. Unless the client really wants the calls to stop, is sick and tired of it and just wants to go forward, in that case then we will sue immediately.
Interviewer: Out of curiosity, what is the most calls or the most abusive situation you ever worked on?
Andrew: As far as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the most number of calls that I’ve seen, and I never got the date on this, involved a woman sued for 2 credit card debts. She was being sued for $45,000. We countersued, and we walked away with $7500 and no debt. The $45,000 debt was wiped out.
She had something like 300 calls. We could have gotten a lot more money but the problem was we could not prove those calls. Also, the client wanted to take that deal. The client is in charge of accepting deals. If they want to accept a deal, that is up to them. It is their case.