QUESTION

Is a client responsible for the legal defense of their attorney if the attorney commits unethical (bar actionable) or illegal acts ?

Asked on Oct 09th, 2018 on Business Law - California
More details to this question:
We are homeowners in a mobile-home park involved in arbitration regarding a rent increase. Parks generally can pass through to us their legal fees (even the fees for their lawyer in opposing our objections to an invalid rent-increase!). The Park's attorney has committed bar-actionable unethical acts and several criminal acts (submitting falsified financial records, submitting fraudulent amortization numbers). If we lodge a complaint with the CA Bar and/or the local DA can this attorney bill the Park - and thence us - for his defense in those proceedings ?
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Answered on Oct 09th, 2018 at 3:26 PM
It is very doubtful that the park would be responsible to pay these fees as part of the attorneys' representation - even if the retainer agreement provided that the park was responsible for the attorneys' own fees in a separate action independent of the rent increase litigation, which is very unlikely, such provision is unlikely to be enforceable in Court.  Of course, this doesn't mean that the attorneys won't try to bill for them.  Also, if the accusations are unfounded, it is possible that the attorneys could recover their expenses as damages in a lawsuit they bring for wrongful prosecution or some similar tort (e.g. abuse of process). 

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