Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 10/20/2004 12:09:23 PM EDT
Lawyer fined $1.8 million for abusing consumer protection law

Wednesday October 20, 2004

Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO (AP) A Southern California lawyer was ordered to pay nearly $1.8 million for misusing a consumer protection law by filing ``shakedown'' lawsuits against small businesses, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said Wednesday.

Attorney Harpreet Brar was also ordered to repay 10 nail salons and one video store a total of $11,200, Lockyer said.

Lockyer claimed that Brar and the Brar & Gamulin law firm sued hundreds of small businesses in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties solely to obtain nuisance settlements. He said Brar wrongly accused the business owners of violating unfair business practice laws and then attempted to get quick cash settlements.

``The litigation brought by Brar not only was frivolous, it was abusive. Its only purpose was to line Brar's pockets with unjust profits,'' Lockyer said.

A phone message left for Brar at his law firm, Brar & Gamulin in Long Beach was not immediately returned. The attorney general's claims against Brar's law firm were dismissed.

The State Bar of California is considering a disciplinary complaint against Brar.

Lockyer has filed several such lawsuits against attorneys, alleging that the lawyers misused the state's unfair business practice laws to get quick cash settlements from business owners.

Enacted in 1933 to protect businesses, the law, also known as Business and Professions Code 17200, was later expanded to protect consumers against price-fixing, false advertising and other deceptive business practices.

A ballot measure in front of voters in November would curb the law. Proposition 64 supporters argue that attorneys have used the law to shake down small companies over minor issues, while opponents say it's used to prevent misleading advertising, stop the mislabeling of meat and punish polluters.

A similar lawsuit Lockyer filed against the Trevor Law Group in Beverly Hills is still pending, but the attorneys involved have quit practicing law.

In Brar's case, Lockyer said the attorney targeted nail salons and small markets, many of which were minority-owned. Lockyer said the attorneys would accuse the businesses of technical, sometimes nonexistent, violations and often almost immediately offer to settle for $1,000.

Kevin Nguyen, who works at Francis Nails in Redlands, said Brar threatened to sue the nail salon for using the same bottle of nail polish on more than one customer.

Each of Brar's letters increased the price to settle the claims, Nguyen said. Lockyer said that in one letter to a salon owner, the lawyer warned that the price of settlement could quickly grow, escalating to $2,000 to as much as $10,000.

After several nail salons in the Vietnamese community were targeted, they joined together and hired a lawyer to fight Brar, said Nguyen, whose salon is one of the 11 businesses that will be repaid.

``If our Vietnamese community didn't get together, we probably would have paid him,'' Nguyen said.

It's a good start.

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:15:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 12:15:44 PM EDT by Combat_Jack]
It is a good start. Thats a good racket to be in, because its cheaper to pay $1k to settle a suit than $10k to fight it, so businessman pay out.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:15:36 PM EDT
Good..... now kick him in the nuts about forty times for good measure.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:32:07 PM EDT
Trevor law group was the worst offender. BTW Cali has a ballot initiative this election to prevent this type of shakedown.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:33:24 PM EDT
Legalized extorsion
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:39:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By deimos:
Legalized extorsion

nothing legal about it... these types destroy the profession...shameful, I hope they disbar him
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:48:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By osprey21:
Good..... now kick him in the nuts about forty times for good measure.

Laughed my ass off at that one!
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:50:03 PM EDT
Shit! That was the whole reason I am going to law school.

Err... Yeah for the ethics, that's why I'm going... Yes Ethics....
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:50:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:51:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 12:52:21 PM EDT
The legal community is apalled.....that he was caught.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 1:09:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mahatma8Rice:
The legal community is apalled.....that he was caught.

+1, unfortunatly.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 1:24:37 PM EDT
These firms actually gave seminars to other lawyers/firms on how to run the same shakedown.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 1:46:28 PM EDT
Disgusting, but amazing the state got after him.

What is funny is that he still, at least for a short while, has his law license.

A law student I knew said they really stress ethics in law school. Funny, they must forget that as fast as I forgot Dynamics and Differential Equations.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 2:10:43 PM EDT
Trevor Law Group was worse by far if I remember correctly. I've used unfair business practice claims in a lot of lawsuits -- where one business is suing another. It has legitimate purposes -- for example, someone sells you a truckload of Colt AR-15s but they are really made in China copies and you had no way of knowing -- its another angle to go after business crooks.

Are there abuses? Of course. The ones that State of California went after seemed to be nothing more than extortion rackets. The same thing is going on with junk faxes. Attorneys are using the federal statutes against junk faxes to extort money out of business who either don't know any better or don't understand how to legally comply; the "attorneys" could care less about the legitimacy of their claim, they just want a quck settlement. There are too many attorneys that just focus on quick money instead of representing their legitimate clients with legitimate claims -- something about "idle hands are the devil's tools."

Do I have the answer? No. But it's funny how as soon as someone's "ox is gored" the first thing they want to do is run to an attorney and sue, no matter how much they hate attorneys and lawsuits. In my opinion, that fuels almost as much of the junk lawsuits as the greedy lawyers do. Sorry, that's my rant.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 2:22:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 2:36:19 PM EDT
"Ethics".......combined with "Lawyers".....an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Not talking about you, Aimless...my son is one, too...but we know just how many sleazy ones are out there...just like the bad cops...they give everyone in the profession a bad name.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 2:49:45 PM EDT
Fine my ass
They should have just cut his nuts off and hung them on the flagpole at the city hall for all to see
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 2:55:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:03:08 PM EDT
You never read a headline that says: "Honest lawyer doesn't bilk client!" or "Ethical lawyer refuses to file frivolous lawsuit"
I'll leave it to you to make of that what you will
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:18:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By id_surf:

Do I have the answer? No. But it's funny how as soon as someone's "ox is gored" the first thing they want to do is run to an attorney and sue, no matter how much they hate attorneys and lawsuits. In my opinion, that fuels almost as much of the junk lawsuits as the greedy lawyers do. Sorry, that's my rant.

Read the thread about 2nd chance vests and see how quick "tort reform" falls by the wayside when YOU want to sue someone.

Got a link?
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:28:05 PM EDT
My family business gets sued a lot. Mostly its disputes over money. Big construction outfits try to sue rather than pay, sometimes. Sometimes its a shakedown.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 3:30:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 3:31:33 PM EDT by Miranthis]

Originally Posted By Hydguy:

Got a link?

Try www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=285771 for starters. there are other threads as well.
Top Top