For financial advisors there are rules about "fiduciary standards," which means that financial planners are obligated by law to act in the best interests of the client. (In some cases this means, for instance, that a stock broker is not supposed to sell you a bad stock just because he gets a high commission on the sale.)
Is there a rule like that for lawyers? it seems like a lawyer ought to be obliged to tell his client that the suit she wishes to bring forward is frivolous and without merit and is likely to end up costing her money.
Re: attorney ethics/frivolous suits, I did a little research but didn't come up with anything exactly on point. Although there are very specific ethical standards for attorneys in NY (some people might be surprised at that), apparently the "frivolous" idea is a somewhat gray area and is tough to define or pin down.
Based on the small amount of material I've read, this suit seemed weak from the get-go but it's possible that it appeared to have more merit when it was first filed than it does now. It's also possible that Oksana insisted that her attorneys continue with it in spite of their best advice to the contrary. If that's what happened, they would have been obligated to follow her instructions -- in which case the judgment against her is her fault, not theirs.
Another point worth noting is that Oksana did win a $9.5M judgment against the William Morris Agency for accounting irregularities. One hopes that the after-tax/after-legal-fees money was well-invested for her, but who knows? Still, in that context, $35K doesn't seem quite as huge although it's still a significant chunk of change.
My sense is that Oksana has never really been able to find emotional stability or a real anchor for her life. Some day, I hope she does -- that's worth more than an OGM or any amount of money.
Anyway - I know nothing about this case, but the claim sounds ridiculous just from this article.
The article says she will have to pay AT LEAST $35,000, so the final judgment could be more.
Oksana is really one who blew through money and trusted wrong people. She was just a kid who won over Nancy as the judges were sick to death by the time Nancy and Tonya actually skated, IMO. Maybe it was just fate that Oksana won by a fraction. I wish she got silver as she would have skated and made very good money but not the ego trip the gold sent her on. I always felt for her and wished she had stayed with Galina, Viktor and wife-solid, mature people who cared for her when she had nothing. A lot of leeches came after her, but she does seem intelligent, just not educated.
God bless her. I will never forget her SP and how she always skated with her heart in those days. I recall she was so hurt when Sergei died. Katia rebounded fast but Oksana was so raw from losing her mom. I just wish Galina could have hung onto her. Best wishes Oksana if you ever read forums.
All of the above makes me wonder: (a) why the judge didn't threaten Oksana's attorney with some kind of penalty; and (b) why the suit was allowed to get as far as it did. It seems odd that the other side couldn't get it thrown out to begin with.
The thing is too though, as a lawyer there is only so much you can do. There are some clients who when you lay it all out of them, still want to do a stupid thing. THe attorney does not make the decisions about what course of action to take. In fact that is an ethical breach. The client always has/makes the final decision. Possibly these lawyers laid it out for her and she said great, still sue. In such an instance the lawyer has no obligation to withdraw- to the contrary they have an obligation to obey the client and act zeaously on her behalf. and in such an instance even if the attorney did withdraw, the client could find another and would.
Oh goodness... It's difficult to read about Oksana's life these days. I'll try to keep her beautiful performances in my memory, and not think too hard about this whole lawsuit debacle...
Maybe Oksana's legal tem hoped that the deep-pockets corporation would just throw a few dollars their way to make the nuisance go away and to avoid possible bad publicity.
(I can only speak to Canadian law but: ) Whether to proceed or not proceed with a case is up to the client (the lawyer at the beginning can agree or not agree to be retained at the beginning, but once retained and the suit commenced, rules start to kick in . . . see Tulosai's comments above), and whatever opinion the lawyer has provided, that opinion is not negligent or a breach of fiduciary duty, even if it is determined to be wrong, providing all of the law and the facts have been considered, and it has been properly qualified and given in good faith. I know that this is a New York case, but there is no indication here of any wrongful act by the attorney that I can perceive.
I haven't read about Oksana's lawsuit yet, but frivolous suits are brought quite a bit, despite the ethical standards that attorneys in every state are supposed to uphold. Also, all law students have to take a course in legal ethics, at least it was so back in the '80s. I'm assuming that hasn't changed. Furthermore, any lawyer can be brought up on malpractice charges, whether the charges have merit is another story.
Edited to Add: Oksana's attorneys probably need to be on their guard. Since the lawsuit did not go her way, she may try to sue them.
It's so very sad to see what her life has come to.
This is disheartening to read. This woman seems not to be able to gain a steady footing in life. Clearly for her it's not just the ice that's slippery.