I get this question all the time. It’s a common question asked once you tell someone you practice law, but its not a simple answer.
Usually it starts with my standard answer – Automotive Law.
What’s that? Like car accidents and stuff?
No. I don’t do car accidents, but represent automotive repair dealers in administrative agency issues, mechanics liens, contract disputes, insurance defense issues, and other business litigation issues.
. . . I’ve never heard of Automotive Law.
It doesn’t really exist, it’s a specialty practice, a niche of sorts that I created to serve members of the automotive community.
Because they’re in need of it. You think fortune 500 companies, these huge corporations are having trouble finding lawyers? Of course not, but the little guy, the small automotive repair dealer needs specialized legal services. I used to be a technician, so I’m familiar with a lot of their needs.
Can you give me an example of when they would need your services?
What do you do for a living?
I’m a dentist.
Lets imagine the board of dentistry created an undercover program, under the guise of protecting consumers from deviant practices from some rogue dentists who like to create phantom cavities and other extra needs in order to increase their bottom line, even though the patient doesn’t really need the service.
So say there’s a small percentage of dentists that engage in this practice. The legislature creates a body to investigate claims of impropriety, but instead of investigating such claims, they send in undercover patients, placing a small amount of white substance mimicking the calcification of teeth, suggesting a cavity on their tooth. So you drill out the material and fill the hole like you would any other cavity, charge them accordingly, and send them on their way.
The next day this administrative agency comes by and says if you don’t turn over all records of all patients immediately, they will shut your office down because they sent in an undercover patient and you charged them for unnecessary services. They don’t tell you who it was, what the alleged wrongdoing is, nor how you provided unnecessary services. They threaten to revoke your licenses, chain your doors shut, and report you to the district attorney if you don’t cooperate immediately. What’s the first thing you would do?
I’d call my lawyer.
Because that sounds like something pretty serious.
Exactly, so you go to call a lawyer. You want one that specializes in dental board issues or administrative license issues, having experience in dealing with this agency, someone who could analyze the facts, the patient records, any x-rays taken, diagnosis, analyze the boards records, especially how they falsely presented a patient to you business, and be able to present your findings at a formal hearing while presenting evidence to show you were in fact not negligent, but did things by the book.
Sounds about right.
Well, lets say you went to look for a lawyer who specialized in this area of law and found no one could help you. Lets say no one specializes in this area of law because it requires an extreme amount of hands on training and legal knowledge, say as a dentist and a lawyer in order to present the evidence in the correct manner so a fact finding body could understand it.
Lets say the board knows this, so they imposed their will on you, revoking licenses, shutting down your business, scarring off customers, putting on black mark on your public record, putting you on probation, which means they can inspect your place at any time, unannounced, and sending out a monthly newsletter with your name on it, the infractions they cited you for, and the amount in damages they are seeking from you as the cost of investigation.
They fail to tell you about any of this, ignoring many of the constitutional rights afforded to you, including due process rights, meanwhile they turn all this incriminating evidence over to the local district attorney who prosecutes you for fraud after you’ve signed incriminating papers without the advice of counsel.
This is exactly the kind of administrative issues these guys deal with all the time. They have other issues like any other businesses, contract disputes, collecting payment, etc. .
So… you’re telling me there’s no one who fights for these guys.
No one I’ve found.
And you want to be the guy who fights for these guys? The Automotive Lawyer?
You damn right.