Amy Fairfield, who was the centre of a Maine Monitor investigation in 2019 about abnormally significant billing by her regulation company, is currently being sued by point out officers for misrepresenting the hrs lawyers labored on instances to generate a better reimbursement from the condition.
Because January 2016, Fairfield & Associates was paid $6.8 million by the Maine Fee on Indigent Lawful Services, or MCILS, to symbolize grownup and juvenile defendants accused of crimes who couldn’t find the money for to seek the services of their individual attorney. Fairfield asked for to withdraw from an estimated 200 situations in July, right after the fee suspended her for failing to take part in an investigation of her legislation firm’s billing practices, The Maine Keep an eye on earlier documented.
A civil grievance submitted in Kennebec County Excellent Courtroom on Dec. 2 alleges her legislation organization Fairfield & Associates, based mostly in Lyman, engaged in unjust enrichment and conversion of state funds.
The complaint also alleges Fairfield produced negligent misrepresentations to MCILS about the “time used by non-attorneys” on instances and invoiced the state for their operate at the legal professional reimbursement charge of $60 an hour. Get the job done by paralegal and assist employees is not protected by MCILS unless of course it is pre-permitted at the discretion of the government director, in accordance to the agency’s procedures.
The state alleges Fairfield unsuccessful to demonstrate realistic treatment about the accuracy of her law firm’s invoices, and realized, or need to have acknowledged, the invoices overstated the time in fact expended by attorneys, who experienced worked on courtroom-appointed instances, in accordance to the grievance.
“This is a outcome of a very thorough investigation by our director,” stated Josh Tardy, chairman of the commission. “We have an obligation to keep lawyers accountable. We have an obligation to the defendants that the commission serves and Maine taxpayers as a total.”
The state’s allegations are unfounded, said Ted Dilworth of Dow’s Law Place of work in Norway on behalf of Fairfield. Dilworth stated it was a conflict for the attorney general’s place of work to be seeking information about criminal defendants represented by Fairfield & Associates whilst the company has open cases versus the company.
“We just feel this is the lawyer general’s business office going after her,” Dilworth explained.
Exceptional among states, Maine has no general public defenders and as a substitute contracts with personal attorneys to deliver authorized counsel to people who can not afford to pay for it. Condition lawmakers elevated the spending plan and included new staff members positions to boost oversight by the agency this year on the heels of joint investigations by The Maine Watch and ProPublica, which confirmed the agency was financially mismanaged and worked with lawyers who had histories of specialist and felony misconduct.
Commissioner Mike Carey explained the company gained issues and information and facts that essential it to go after legal motion from Fairfield and her regulation company.
The fee voted 5-1 on Nov. 29 in aid of the Business office of the Maine Legal professional General submitting a civil lawsuit on its behalf. Bob Cummins was the a person commissioner to oppose the advice.
Fairfield was at the time the best compensated public defense legal professional in Maine. She billed the state $275,612 in fiscal yr 2018 for function on court docket-appointed situations, which the former government director of MCILS John Pelletier claimed he realized included do the job by a number of folks at her law agency, The Maine Monitor reported in November 2019.
Pelletier reportedly investigated Fairfield’s billing tactics in 2018, but he eventually didn’t acquire action towards her.
“We thoroughly cooperated at that time. We did almost everything that John Pelletier requested,” Dilworth stated. “He uncovered that there was no trouble.”
A governing administration oversight report later uncovered Pelletier did not go much plenty of to come across out if lawyers had effectively billed the point out. Pelletier resigned at the conclude of 2020 pursuing push and authorities scrutiny of his career.
This story was originally printed by The Maine Observe. The Maine Keep track of is a area journalism item revealed by The Maine Middle for General public Curiosity Reporting, a nonpartisan and nonprofit civic information organization.