Big Time Lawyer Becomes Big Time Loser Against GM
Robert Kleven was minding his own business one day when listening to the news on the radio. He had no knowledge that what he was about to do would sink a high profile plaintiff’s lawyer in a major lawsuit against General Motors. As Robert Kleven listened intently, a news report described a long-awaited trial just beginning in federal court in Manhattan that same day, the first over a deadly defect in millions of ignition switches manufactured by GM.The plaintiff in the lawsuit was a postman by the name of Robert Scheuer. Robert Kleven was a real estate agent in Tulsa, OK, and recognized the name. It seems that a couple of years ago, Robert Scheuer had pulled a fast one on Robert Kleven.
Allegedly, Robert Scheuer had altered a check issued by the government to make it appear as though he had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a bank account. Based on that government check, Robert Kleven allowed Robert Scheuer and his wife move into a new house in an area located in suburban Tulsa, Oklahoma before they had to pay for it. Further, Robert Kleven, had to start an eviction action to hat Robert Scheuer and his family removed from the home. Robert Scheuer had forged the check to make it appear as though he had made a bank deposit of $441,430.72.
During the trial, Robert Scheuer apparently testified under oath that the injuries he had sustained in a May 2014 car wreck that occurred in his Saturn Ion, had led to their being evicted from the home in Tulsa, OK. When the GM attorneys learned the truth, they accused Robert Scheuer of fraud and were forced to dismiss their lawsuit half way through the trial. They received no compensation from General Motors.
GM had spent over $2 billion dollars in defending itself on the flawed ignition switches, including defending death and and injury claims. This was a huge blow to the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in their lawsuit, Attorney Robert Hillard. Previously, Attorney Hillard had reached settlements with GM in over 1,300 bad ignition switch cases. Attorney Millard was one of three lawyers appointed to manage hundreds of similar lawsuits against GM that still remain on the books.
Attorney Hillard was completely blindsided by the phony check stub. The attorney indicated there was nothing that would have indicated that the story his client’s were telling wasn’t truthful.The story however, didn’t make sense. How do you lose your house, if you have $400,000 in the bank?
Robert Kleven contacted representatives from GM to tell them what he knew about the real reason Robert and Lisa Scheuer lost their house. GM’s lawyers did further investigating, including sending a forensic team to Tulsa, OK to investigate the claims of fraud.
So, what is the purpose of this story? To feel sorry for the plaintiff”s lawyer whose case unraveled right in front him? For the real estate agent, Robert Kleven, who turned the Scheuers’ in, or Robert and Lisa Scheuer for having their GM case dismissed? I think the moral of the story is to be honest. I have had clients lie to me in the last 33 years. It is usually obvious when a client is lying; sometimes it is not obvious, but becomes more apparent as the case drags on, the story just doesn’t make any logical sense. No one likes to be lied to. If the client had been honest with the lawyer from day one, the attorney could have possibly saved the case and avoided a dismissal of the lawsuit, or at least tried to negotiate a settlement, and avoid a trial. Instead, they were sandbagged in the middle of the trial by the GM attorneys. Always tell the truth, and always listen to the advice of your attorneys. In this case, Robert and Lisa Scheuer have no one to feel sorry for, except for themselves. Attorney Kleven did nothing wrong, other than believing the story that his client told him. I feel his pain! The attorney was ambushed by his own client.