Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Lombardi Law Firm. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.
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Is it legal to advertise about an attorney who hurt me (malpractice)?
I'm not sure what you mean by "advertise", but you could be sued if what you publish is not 100% accurate; so I would not advise it. Trying to get even is usually run by emotion not clear thinking and when emotions are involved bad decisions can be made. I’d suggest you take a step back, perhaps consider filing a complaint with the appropriate bar association and leave well enough alone. Best of luck to you.
Can I ask a judge who was my lawyer 35 years ago to step aside on a current case involving my son in a family law matter?
Thirty-five years is a long time ago. I doubt the court would consider representation so long ago to be a relevant conflict today. Work on the facts is my advice.
If the court consolidates my case with others can I have it overturned?
Without knowing the case and reading the consolidation order there isn't any way to answer this question. Federal court? State Court? A products case? A stock case? See there just isn't enough detail to answer your question.
Should I have photo evidence of the accident for my case?
Question Detail: Should I take pictures for my complaint? Do pictures have a bearing on my case?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. Photographs if taken properly can be exceptionally good evidence. Photographs of the cars, the accident location, any defect in the property, signs, trees and any other fact that has a bearing on the case should be photographed.
How much will be the total cost of filing a personal injury case?
Question Detail: My son was involved in a bar fight 3 weeks ago. He had a broken arm and some bruises. I want to file a personal injury case and how much?
Answer: Costs in personal injury lawsuits require a filing fee ($185) for district court filings. From there if depositions, there will be several thousands of dollars in litigation costs. You need an attorney to understand how this works. Here is the link.
Civil Court Fees
There are a number of fees and costs for a variety of court services in civil matters, including the following:
· Filing fee for a civil petition—(including a petition for dissolution of marriage) $185 (In counties over 98,000 in population an additional $5 publication fee may be charged)
m Filing fee for a foreign judgment, including all dissolution or modification of marriage decrees under Chapter 598, is the same as filing a civil petition ($185)
m Fee for a name change under 674 is a civil petition with a filing fee of $185 (If the name change is part of the petition for dissolution there is only one civil filing fee of $185)
m Fee for a termination of parental rights under 600A is a civil petition with a filing fee of $185
m Fee for petition or application for delayed birth certificate under Iowa Code §144.17 is $185
· Filing fee for any petition based in Chapter 598, other than a dissolution of marriage, is $100. These petitions may include:
m A contested modification of a dissolution decree
m An annulment petition
m A separate maintenance petition
· Filing fee for a petition to modify a dissolution decree with an agreed upon stipulation attached is $100
· Petition for adoption, including multiple adoption petitions filed at the same time by the same petitioner, is $100
· Filing of a small claims petition or original notice, (civil case under $5000 in damages) as described in Iowa Code § 631.1, is $85. This includes municipal infractions under Iowa Code § 364.22(7)
· Appeal of judgment in a small claims case—$185
· All statutory liens, including mechanic's liens are $50
· For a lis pendens -- $50
· Entering a final divorce decree—$50
· Motion to show cause for contempt—$50
· For certification and seal of court document, (except for probate)—$20; probate is $10.
· For filing and indexing a transcript of judgment—$50
· Certifying a change of title of real estate (except for probate)—$50; probate is $20.
· Fee for jury trial—$100
· Penalty for late settlement of jury trial—$1000
· Court reporter fee $40/day
· Copies—most court offices charge $.50 per page
· Filing a praecipe under chapter 626—$25
· Filing a praecipe under chapter 654—$50
· Filing a confession of judgment for a judgment of $5000 or less—$50
· Filing a confession of judgment for a judgment in excess of $5000—$100
· Other fees apply depending on the case
Waiving Filing Fees
Courts have the inherent power to authorize the commencement of certain legal actions without requiring a petitioner to prepay the filing fee. Courts waive fees in the interest of justice when a person does not have the financial resources to pay. If you cannot afford to pay a filing fee to initiate a lawsuit, you file a written request with the clerk of court. The clerk will forward your request to a judge, who will decide whether or not to waive the fee.
Certain fees will be "taxed as costs" in the case and ultimately charged to the losing party or as otherwise ordered by the court.
Fees Benefit Taxpayers
Nearly all of the money collected from court costs and fees is deposited into the state general fund for appropriation by the Iowa Legislature.
How long will it take for the lawsuit judgment to be paid?
Question Detail: 9 months ago, I had my case settled. The person who caused my injury lost so I have a personal injury claim. The question is, when will a get the claim?
Answer: Settling claims can take several months or several years. I can't determine from your answer whether or not you took a judgment and are waiting for the opposition to pay the judgment or if you have not yet filed the claim. See a lawyer.
What does it mean if your case is hereby dismissed for want of prosecution, pursuant to R.C.P. 1.944?
It's not a good thing that's for sure. It means you didn't get the case set for trial or continued beyond December 31, 2009 and it was on file for a sufficient length of time that under Rule 1.944 it was automatically dismissed. You should immediately file under the rule asking for it to be reinstated. I don't have the rule with me so I can't tell you how much time you have to file for reinstatement but there is a time limit.
How can I make my civil trial practice more effeciient during the initial interview process?
Forms is the answer to this question. Use an intake form and create a master list of tasks you'll need to complete during the initial interview process. In our office we use a Master Task List that is secured to the front of the investigative section of the file. The MTL is a list of all forms and tasks we complete to open the electronic and paper files. On your hardrive create an electronic form file and create a subfile for New Client Forms. Fill it with every type of form you use for that particular type of claim or client. That will help save you time and effort.
How can I find the name of a small business owner who's closed but never delivered furniture I paid for?
There are a couple of things you could do.
1. Call the utility company and ask where his last bill was forwarded.
2. Contact the Iowa Secretary of State and search for corporation information using the company name. This you can do online.
3. Are you aware of any relatives that might know his whereabouts?
4. For $1.00 you can fill out a form at the US Post Office in the vicinity where he did business and that post master will provide his change of address.
5. For lawyers there is also Westlaw’s information system.
6. Internet searches in general at sites like Classmates.com may provide contact information or at least a way to communicate with the person.
7. I also check the Iowa Court’s Online docket information for leads.
8. There is the Polk County Jail prisoner list that can prove helpful. Most counties probably have such a list or the jailer may provide information. This is pretty much only for persons who don’t abide by the law.
9. Put an ad in the local newspaper seeking anyone who can provide contact information.
10. Check with the county clerk at the courthouse, because he may be a party to a lawsuit.
I have more suggestions but that is good enough for now.
What does it mean to be a trial lawyer?
I've been issued a challenge and I take it up. Ah, a quote from Harry Philo and an alleged challenge to my abilities to blawg around a quote. The only thing better would be to be climbing or sitting for a gin with Ed.
The Challenge is how would I blog using this quote?
BLAWG: Harry M. Philo was quoted as saying: "Trial lawyers must accept the challenge to resolve the contradictions in the system and move it forward to greater responsiveness not just to the needs of victims but to the needs of the society to avoid injury and death."
I am constantly reminded and have to teach my clients that justice and fairness is not the same thing. Justice is about applying facts to law, laws that were not written for one client's case or to make sure that my current client is happy. Laws are written to advance society while allowing a band aid to be placed on clients wounds. Fairness is what each client seeks. Fairness to any single client is about getting what they want. And all clients want something a little different.
What clients need to know and what my clients know is that I care about them as people. I represent people, real people with real problems. And while I don't promise to tell every client what they want to hear, I do promise to tell them what they need to hear. I will, if that is what you want, give you your day in court. And that is my promise to you.
As an officer of the court my promise is to be honest and professional while zealously representing my clients. And to society my promise is use this legal system that I am privileged to practice in to make what you do safer for your family and your children. That is the promise I made to my children and that I continue to make to this next generation.