From the blog
For over 33 years, the Law Offices of J. Michael Vallee have been committed to obtaining justice and the maximum recovery possible for our clients. We represent victims of serious personal injury or death. We also represent those that have been cheated or ripped off financially, either by fraud or scam. If you or a loved one has been hurt or cheated, we’re happy to meet or speak with you for a free consultation. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlement and verdicts for our clients. Our practice is limited to representing individuals and small businesses. We have earned a strong reputation for standing up to big businesses and insurance companies and fighting for what is right. If you have been the victim of a serious injury, death in the family, or have been cheated, we invite you to contact us.
- Serious personal injuries or death from an accident
- Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud
- Injury from any defective product, including drugs and household items
- Auto Fraud , including sale or lease of any vehicle, motor home or motorcylce
- Motorcycle or Bicycle accidents
- Lemon Law
- Denial of Insurance Benefits
- Elder Abuse, physical or financial
- Slip and Fall
- Medical or other Malpractice
- Brain Injuries
- Other types of Fraud cases
Contact us for a free consultation or send us a brief note about your case. We’re here to help you, not the insurance companies!
We are all consumers. We buy things and hire companies to provide services for us. When a business intentionally cheats us during a consumer transaction, ie commits fraud (a fancy word for cheating), that is generally called “Consumer Fraud.” It’s a relatively new area of legal practice; very few lawyers specialize in consumer fraud. With more and more fraud being uncovered, committed by almost every conceivable type of business or corporation, most of us have fallen victim to some sort of consumer fraud during our lifetimes. But, with law firms, such as ours, with experience in handling consumer fraud cases coming to the forefront, consumers are able to fight back and make the bad guys pay for what they did.
Another way to understand the potential vastness of consumer fraud is to think of everything you bought during the last year; every company you paid to do something for you; every product you used. The list spans pages and pages, from the market, to the car wash, to the bank, to the home improvement store, and on and on. Every single transaction carries a risk that you could be swindled. Some of the most common areas involve predatory lending practices by mortgage brokers and lenders; auto dealer fraud; credit card or collection agency scams; deceptive insurance practices; denial of disability benefits; and rip-offs by unlicensed contractors.
If you’re a victim of consumer fraud, do something about it! Call us.
What about “Small” Rip-Offs?
Often, folks will ask us about “small” rip-offs, cheats, or scams. “I only got cheated out of a few hundred dollars” or “is it worth going after the bad guys for a small amount”? It depends. Each case is different. But, consumer laws are tough. They allow us to take even smaller cases, get our attorney fees paid, get money for you, and even get extra penalties against the crooked business! Some cases even warrant punitive damages to punish businesses for cheating consumers like you. What may look like a small case, could turn out to be a lot bigger than it seems, or even lead to a class action, where many consumers have been ripped-off for small amounts but in the same type of scam by one or more businesses. We look at many different factors when evaluating a case, not just the value of what was lost. Consumer fraud cases are complex by nature, and sometimes only investigation will determine if there is a good case or not. We look at the conduct of the “bad guys” and ask ourselves “does this make us angry? Is this outrageous? Does this make us want to stop this type of sleazy conduct?” We try to imagine how jurors would see this case and what they would do if the case went to trial. So don’t give up just because the case may seem small. Sometimes small cases can lead to big money justice!
New Kinds of Fraud?
TELL US! We’re always interested in hearing about new scams. Tell us if you know about something new or different, or if you think it’s something that’s just not right. It doesn’t have to be against consumers. It can be a big business ripping off a smaller one by unfair competition or price-fixing, a medical office committing medicare or medical fraud against the government, or any other type of fraudulent activity. In fact, in certain whistle-blower situations, you may even be entitled to a portion of the recovery when the cheaters have to pay! More importantly, it’s just not decent or fair to lie, cheat or steal, and all of us have an obligation to stand up to this type of unacceptable behavior and loudly say . . .
“NO, WE WON’T LET YOU GET AWAY WITH THAT!”
Not in our town. Not in our community.
Not against our friends, neighbors, and families.
Not now, not ever
What about attorney fees and costs?
We take most cases on a contingency basis. Simply put, we only get paid if we win the case. Then, we take either a percentage of the money we get for you, or we get the bad guys to pay our fees separately from your money. In addition to attorney fees, there are usually some litigation costs necessary to bring a legal claim or case. These costs are usually minimal at the start of a case but can become higher as a case progresses. On many cases, we even advance these costs as well.
Meeting Times and Places
When and where can we meet? We have offices in San Diego and Solana Beach, California. We can make convenient arrangements to come to your home or a local office near your home.
Do you work with other law firms?
We work with other law firms in three different ways:
- As a consultant to help prepare the case for trial
- As co-counsel and lead counsel at trial; or
- On straight referral, paying a referral fee per the California (or other state’s) Rules of Professional Conduct.
What types of cases do we accept?
Trip and Fall: Young woman steps out of car onto uneven pavement in restaurant parking lot. She suffers a fractured ankle and broken toe. Case succesfully settled for mid-six figures after extensive litigation. Co-counsel with Robert Francavilla of Casey, Gerry.
Mortgage fraud: A mortgage broker gets together with our client’s husband and forges her name on loan documents. The husband takes the money and loses it. The family home is foreclosed upon. Confidential settlement: six figures
Wrongful death: A woman has a seizure while driving and kills a 43 year-old bicyclist who leaves a widow and two young children. A jury trial results in a verdict of $1,000,000 to care for a wife and kids
Consumer fraud: Man buys a car on eBay that is advertised as having 70,000 miles on it. A Carfax reveals that the car actually has 170,000 miles on it. In a lawsuit for fraud, all of the man’s money is recovered plus penalties and attorney fees.
Product liability: A folding chair collapses under a 42 year-old office worker reinjuring her lower back. We filed a lawsuit which removes a dangerous chair from the market and results in a settlement to the woman in the amount of $550,000.
Brain injury: A 51-year-old woman is sideswiped in an automobile collision. She begins to experience fuzziness and memory loss. There is no loss of consciousness. We settle the case for a confidential six-figure sum.
Wrongful death: A shipyard worker climbs down from a crane and suffers a massive heart attack. He’s a heavy smoker and is overweight. His Kaiser Dr. fails to order a treadmill test in his last examination before the death. We arbitrate the case and obtain a six-figure verdict.
Medical malpractice: An 80 year old woman is admitted to the hospital for stomach problems. An intravenous needle is inserted incorrectly. Chemicals escaped from the vein and infiltrate into the forearm. No one notices for several days. She ends up having her lower arm amputated. Cases successfully settled pretrial for $400,000 allowing her to live comfortably for the remainder of her life.
Wrongful death: A 75-year-old African-American grandfather dies during a minor outpatient surgical procedure. The doctor and the outpatient clinic attempt to hide the true facts of the case but we uncover the truth and settle the case confidentially in the six figures.
Auto case: Young construction worker in head-on collision with traveling salesman. He injures his neck and requires a second neck surgery. Case successfully settled one week before trial for $458,000. (J. Jude Basile co-counsel)