Attorneys Behaving Badly
Jeffrey R. Liddle of Liddle & Robinson
In November 2003, Jeff Liddle of Liddle & Robinson agreed to represent Spencer C. Young in the prosecution of his claims against Morgan Stanley on a "contingent fee" basis (i.e., he receives no fee unless he wins the case). He indicated that he rarely accepted cases under such an arrangement, but was agreeable, because in his words, it was "a very strong case". At the outset, there was an obvious camaraderie, as Messrs. Young and Liddle were Cornell alumni, and something Mr. Liddle obviously held in high regard as half of the professionals at Liddle & Robinson at the time were graduates of Cornell University – and three of the four partners who worked on Mr. Young's case (to wit, Jeff Liddle, Jim Batson and Dave Greenberger) were Cornell alumni.
Violation of Client Rights
After supposedly preparing for Mr. Young's case, for roughly three years, Jeff Liddle, the eponymous head of Liddle & Robinson suddenly resigned, with virtually no pre-trial work completed and the scheduled hearings only weeks way. Compounding its effects, his resignation came at a time when Mr. Young was consumed by the travails of the Duke Men's Lacrosse Scandal, because his oldest son, Michael was a member of the team with the threat of a bogus indictment hanging over his head for roughly two months. Such behavior by an attorney was not merely confounding, his handling of Mr. Young's case effectively violated 70% of the “Client Rights”, which are standards licensed attorneys are held to in their practice of law, as promulgated by the New York State Bar Association. Accordingly, his acts manifested:
⇨ Discourteous Treatment of Client;
⇨ Incompetent Case Preparation;
⇨ No Loyalty to Client;
⇨ A Failure to Respond to Questions and Concerns
⇨ A Failure to Apprise Client of Case Status;
⇨ Agreed-upon Objectives Not Addressed; and
⇨ Unethical Behavior
Case Preparation Shortfalls
And at the time of Mr. Liddle's untimely resignation, Mr. Young's case against Morgan Stanley had already been pending and unheard SEVEN times longer than most NASD arbitration cases, with his pre-trial case preparation shortfalls falling into eight categories:
1) Discovery -- Mismanagement of the discovery process, as evidenced by an inability to provide an assessment of discovery compliance (a/k/a "Discovery Scorecard")
2) Strategy -- Failure to articulate a strategy in the prosecution of Mr. Young's Case, nor address Morgan Stanley’s notorious strategy of attrition and obstruction of justice
3) Unilateral Decisions -- Making unilateral decisions without Mr. Young's input nor prior knowledge, and failing to apprise Mr. Young of discussions held with the NASD Arbitration Panel and Morgan Stanley’s legal counsel (Kirkland & Ellis)
4) Method of Communications -- Failure to respect or otherwise heed Mr. Young's requests to communicate by email, which was necessary due to his extensive travel schedule at the time
5) Scheduling -- Despite Mr. Liddle's express representations, no attempt was made to accelerate the scheduling of Mr. Young's hearing -- in fact, the converse was true
6) Information -- Withholding or otherwise failing to share information in a timely manner
7) Incommunicado -- Failure to communicate for long periods (often months at a time), or timely respond to information provided, address questions posed, or otherwise provide timely guidance or assessment of case preparation
8) Data Management -- Demonstrative inability to manage electronic data
Mr. Liddle's woefully inadequate case preparation, inexplicable delays and untimely resignation significantly compromised the prosecution of Mr. Young's case, in that: (1) it necessitated a third postponement of the hearing, where the first two postponements had been requested by Mr. Liddle because he was similarly ill-prepared to try the case: (2) the pre-trial work was in shambles, as the preponderance of discovery information requests were unfulfilled, with no way of knowing what was, or was not received; and (3) his abrupt departure tainted Mr. Young's case, causing prospective replacement counsel to evaluate his case with a jaundiced eye, which caused considerable difficulty in hiring replacement counsel.
Jeff Liddle and the law firm of Liddle & Robinson caused Mr. Young extensive losses and mounting damages, thereby causing unimaginable emotional pain and suffering to Mr. Young and those in his extended family whom he has long supported.