It's probably a good thing Eddie Judge decided to open a gym and get out of the "legal business". I mean, that's saying he was ever in the legal business legally to begin with. Before hooking his wagon wheel to Tamra Barney, Eddie was the manager of his father's law firm. Unfortunately he's being sued along with his father's law firm!
A source reached out to us to let us know that Eddie's behavior at his adoptive father's law firm was serious cause for concern.
Yeppers, old Ed-wino of the infamous Real Housewives of Orange County bathtub porn scene is being taken to court! An attorney who was formerly employed by the Judge Law Firm filed a suit against the firm for Wrongful Termination and Unfair Competition. According to the lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, the attorney claims she was wrongfully terminated when she complained about unethical practices in the firm – namely that Eddie was practicing law without a license!
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The plaintiff, who was employed by Judge Law Firm from 2009 until her termination in 2011, believes she was fired by Eddie because "she complained about, and refused to participate in or aid and abet in the Firm’s unethical and illegal practices, such as the unauthorized practice of law by a non-attorney, unethical billing practices, practicing law in conflict of client’s interests and dishonesty to the courts and clients."
Reportedly the Judge Law Firm focused most of their services on "representing homeowners associations (HOAs) in suits against members of the HOA for failure to pay HOA fees." Which could explain how Eddie met Tamra (a former real estate agent). The Firm sought to save money and time in these matters by "having non-attorneys perform legal work, charging a pre-determined amount of time for the performance of a task even if it took far less time to perform the task, and having non-attorneys reject settlement offers without presenting the offers to the Firm’s clients."
The plaintiff alleges that Eddie had her sign multiple complaints per day without reviewing their content. One one occasion a non-attorney intercepted and rejected a settlement without consulting this attorney, who then complained to Eddie about the situation. Eddie claimed it was financially beneficial for the firm to have non-attorneys respond to settlements. He promised they would change their practices. They did not.
Additionally there is an accusation of tampering with billing times through the "Trust" software program in order to over-bill clients for services rendered by non-attorneys but charged at attorney rates.
The plaintiff also claims the firm operated with "pre-set" billing rates "The Firm used to refer to billing tasks at pre- determined time blocks rather than the true amount of time the task would take." The Firm practiced "blended-billing" or charging a client a set rate for a task performed by an attorney and non-attorney alike, but billed at a rate to indicate an attorney provided the majority of service. Finally the firm is accused of delaying court proceedings to collect on higher billing rates. Eddie, as the boss, was allegedly steering the behaviors of the firm.
Another instance of illegality was using a process server who "regularly caused clients to incur extra costs." Eddie reportedly also has a "vested interest" in the company which prompted his continued use of it despite the inflated billing rate. Then Eddie and the HR manager decided to start their own process servicing company called Coastal Court Services (“CCS”), which they claimed would provide better service to clients. But that "representation was false."
When the plaintiff sought advice from Eddie's father, James Judge, he reportedly directed her that Eddie is the boss.
The plaintiff was so distraught by the "illegal and unethical" behaviors they observed that they complained numerous times. "The Firm eventually fired [the plaintiff] for complaining about and refusing to participate in this unethical and illegal scheme," reads the suit.
"By the Spring of 2011, [plaintiff] had become more vocal about the Firm’s ethical violations and fraudulent practices, and continued to refuse to participate in the Firm’s schemes. As a result, the Firm harassed [plaintiff] and treated her poorly."
As a result of what the plaintiff sees as wrongful termination, they are seeking punitive damages, lost wages, and attorney and court fees.
We reached out to an attorney for some input on the case and this is what she shared:
"The attorneys in the office are putting their licenses on the line by allowing/condoning his alleged actions, not checking his work (let's be honest, the paralegals support staff do all the work, but it's the lawyer's duty to check the work before it's submitted to court/clients/opposing counsel). They could be sanctioned, have their licenses suspended or lose them entirely. So, while what they allege Eddie is doing is totally wrong, mostly like the attorneys in that office would suffer more from those allegations. However, the inflated billing and side businesses, he'd be on the hook for those (although, again–it would most likely be the attorneys who are more responsible because they are held to a higher duty of care)."
Our attorney friend also shares that on the flip side, if the plaintiff knew these things were going for years and complained internally but never reported it, she may be in violation of ethical rules by not reporting it to the state bar.
Let's just hope Eddie actually has his personal training license and isn't freeballing that as well!
[Photo Credit: Izzy/WENN.com]
TELL US – WAS EDDIE PRACTICING LAW WITHOUT A LICENSE OR IS THIS SUIT BASELESS?