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Diepenbrock-Harrison Jeff Anderson Incorrect legal advice, excessive fees, arrogant attitude Sacramento, California
7th of Apr, 2011 by User913161
My husband and I met with Jeff Anderson of the Diepenbrock Harrison Law Firm in October of 2009 regarding a title company policy claim. We have an intentionally misplaced private/public water well on our property by a private operator, it is a trespass. When we bought the property we purchased an ALTA title insurance policy. This type of policy is supposed to cover encroachments, someone else's interest in your property and unmarketable title. We have all three of those issues. When we met with Jeff Anderson of the Diepenbrock-Harrison firm, we had a denial letter from Fidelity Title Company relative to our claim of insurance. Jeff reviewed all of our documents and took the case, We were claiming $800,000 in damages, well under the available title insurance of $1,575,000. The case proceeded over the next several months with billing in excess of $15,000 monthly, the fees were eye-poping. I communicated on several occasions to Jeff that this was becoming very expensive, are we sure it is worth it?? For some reason, I believe they thought we were high net worth individuals and could afford the fees. In April of 2010, Lee Bardellini, counsel for Fidelity Title Company raised the issue of the statute of limitations being two years from the date of discovery. When this happened, Mr. Bardellini wanted to remove this issue prior to proceeding to arbitration. Jeff Anderson disagreed and was adamant that the correct law was when I discovered the degree to which I had been damaged or 2 years and 6 months after the discovery of the well aka The Contini case. I was very direct in my question to Jeff: What is the exact law Jeff?? I understand that the law is not always logical and know that we could spend a considerable amount of money only to discover that the statute of limitations of 2 years was valid. Jeff was unmovable in his opinion and we proceeded on to mediation, over $130,000 in fees spent at that time in October of 2010 . At the mediation with JAMS, Don Parsons was the mediator. We spent 4 hours mediating with Fidelity, we were offered $150,000, just barely enough to cover our legal fees. I asked Jeff what we should do, he was still strong in his belief that he was correct. We started the mediation at $800,000, Fidelity began at $35,000. In four hours, all that we paid for, the final number was $150,000. I talked with Jeff and we agreed to proceed to arbitration. At the end of the week, Jeff sent via email a lengthy "cover-his-ass" memo calling us Kamakaze clients, going for an unrealistic sum of money, on and on. I was shocked and called Karen Diepenbrock who I knew personally and asked why he would send such a letter--she said that management required him to send it. Cover the fees, so to speak. Aparently, Don Parsons told Jeff in private that he was wrong, that his case had no basis and that Lee Bardellini is a strong insurance attorney. It appears that Jeff was freaked out by this information which led to his backpedaling and blaming us for moving forward. We went to arbitration, we paid for 5 days of Judge Tremblath's time and within 3 days he had decided that the 2 year statute of limitations prevailed. He also awarded Fidelity all their fees. We were shocked to say the least. I queried Jeff, what happened to the law you were basing your argument on, why didn't we deal with the statute of limitations in April?? No answer, just excessive and unconcionable fees. We fired Jeff, I had to complete the Fidelity agreement myself. We were able to get Fidelity to not impose the order to collect their fees of approximately $50,000. Lee Bardillini told me "I was always looking over my shoulder, the Diepenbrock-Harrison firm gives seminars in subjects such as the statute of limitations". I told him how much Jeff had charged me and he responded "I have to raise my fees". I notified Karen Diepnbrock and Jeff Anderson that we would file a complaint with the Sacramento Bar Association if we could not resolve the now over $250,000 in legal fees, expert witness costs, etc. That action is pending now, we are waiting for an arbitrator. What we do not understand is why Jeff would so cavalierly proceed when he had the opportunity to resolve the statute of limitations early on before the fees became astronomical. Gene Cheever who has filed the response for the Bar Association says that the decision was somehow my fault, interesting as the statute of limitations is a simple mathmatical calculation. We could have also filed a demurer or summary judgement and resolved the question early on when advised in April, 2010. I have also received transcripts of recorded conversations that I had with Jeff via Mr. Cheevers' response. I have asked for transcripts of some of the conversations that tell my side of the story however those are not forthcoming. I had no knowledge that I was being recorded. This is a large, prestigious law firm. We considered Jack and Karen Diepenbrock as friends, we even went to Mexico on a vacation with them some years back. Karen and Jeff understand clearly that we could loose our home if we do not come forward with about $300,000 in principle that would represent the amount the title company should have paid at least and close to the amount charged in fees by Diepenbrock-Harrison. We are glad that the Sacramento Bar Association has a venue for clients who are charged unconcionable fees. I understand that overhead is high and that lawyers are pushed to bill, bill, bill however this was ridiculous--BEWARE--large legal firms do not always serve their clients well.

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