The Massachusetts law firm of Keches Law Group has been sued by Attorney General Maura Healey for receiving over $90,000 in illegal kickbacks from the Injured Workers Pharmacy in exchanged for referring Keches clients to the pharmacy. According to the Attorney General, in 2017 Ketches had an agreement with the pharmacy in which Keches would receive $4,000 per month in exchange for linking their websites. The AG says that recovered emails between the parties indicate that the website link was in exchange for referring 40 clients per month to the pharmacy. The various “deals” yielded more than $1.2 million in revenue for the pharmacy.
The lawsuit, filed in Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court is alleging that Keches’ actions violated Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93a, the Consumer Protection Law and violated the clients’ informed consent. Further, it alleges a second agreement between the parties in which the pharmacy paid out more than $74,000 for Keches marketing events including motor car racing, yachting and a $24,000 holiday lunch.
The Keches Law Group, represented by Attorney Thomas Maffei, was “surprised and disappointed” about the lawsuit. Attorney Maffei reported that Keches terminated its relationship with the pharmacy, cooperated with the Attorney General’s investigation “and to their knowledge no client was harmed.” Attorney Maffei noted that there was no violation of Chapter 93A, that Keches’ actions were not “unfair or deceptive in any way.”
Chapter 93A in Legal Malpractice in Massachusetts
At Burns & Jain, we do not have an opinion as to the allegations of the Attorney General, or the defense spearheaded by Attorney Maffei. We do, however, have significant experience with Chapter 93A.
In a legal malpractice case, we allege that our client’s prior attorney was negligent. He or she breached their duty of care to the client. In many cases, when we allege a violation of the Consumer Protection Statute, we are saying that the prior attorney committed unfair or deceptive acts.
Examples of Unfair and Deceptive Actions By An Attorney in Violation of Chapter 93A
Personal injury cases generally have a three-year statute of limitations. You must settle your case within three years or file suit in court. If your attorney fails to settle or file suit, she is negligent. However, once he realizes that he was negligent, and fails to immediately inform you, that is “deceptive” in our opinion. She sends a letter, or multiple letters or emails, in which she says “your case is pending…the Courts are slow.” We have won treble damages in such instances. Or, he reiterates what the underlying defendant says and claims your case is now too difficult – if he does this after the statute of limitations runs, that is deceptive. We have those cases too.
Another example is when an attorney has a conflict of interest. He formally represented the company or individual you have a case against. Arrogantly, perhaps he thinks he can help you because he knows how they work. However, his actions are deceptive because his alliances are unclear. He is deceptive and unfair. We see many conflict cases and I would attribute it to the attorney’s arrogance: he thinks he can manage the situation.
Attorney fees are another area of deception. Some attorneys send a monthly, or periodic billing and the client can see what the charges are. Some, however, do not send a bill until the end of a case. At that point, the client often did not know that the bill would be so high. Sometimes, the hourly rate has increased, unbeknownst to the client. Sometimes, an attorney has billed many hours for internal consultations (between partner and associate for example) and the client had no way of knowing that so much “work” was being undertaken. We find this often in divorce or probate malpractice matters.
Burns & Jain – Legal Malpractice Attorneys for Chapter 93A Consumer Protection Representation
If your attorney has been deceptive or unfair, contact Neil Burns and Roshan Jain for a free consultation. We have represented victims of attorney malpractice for over 30 years. There is no obligation. Call 617-227-7423.