Court upholds default where defendant attorney encountered difficulty with e-filing answer; no quantum meruit after suspension of defendant's license
Ronald Kraft suffered a suspended law license, apparently, while negotiating a claim for an elderly client, Mae Crawford. He did not disclose his suspension to her and continued to process the settlement. He wanted to keep part of the settlement to protect himself from lien claims, however, the settlement was not placed in a client trust account. When Crawford sued him to recover the "retained" money, he was slow to respond and a default was entered.Kraft argued that he experienced difficulty after hiring an electronic filing expert to assist him in filing his answer, however, he did not file an affidavit confirming the operative facts. In addition, he was weeks late in filing to set aside the default after it entered. Finally, while he had a legitimate concern over lien claims arising out of Crawford's settlement, he did not act in an appropriate manner, and therefore he forfeited his right to retain any of the settlement. He failed to inform Crawford of his suspension and continued to represent her during the suspension period--thus eliminating any quantum meruit claim for fees. He did not deposit her recovery in a proper client trust account, so he forfeited the right to maintain possession until lien claims were resolved.