A divorce lawyer from Seattle helped her client win more than $100,000 in settlement payment, only to keep the money herself. Dana K. Fossedal is now facing felony theft charges.
Fossedal’s client, a Metro Transit bus driver who had hired her in 2009 to represent him through his divorce, was awarded $117,000 as part of the settlement.
The client did not receive the money directly; the settlement payment ended up in a trust account held by Fossedal. The 41-year-old lawyer then raided the trust account that held the male client’s money and used it to pay for personal expenses.
Notably, Fossedal was owed less than $10,000 for representing the man in the case.
The client sued Fossedal, winning a $162,000 judgment. Because only a small part of that debt has been paid, the court has also seized Fossedal’s husband’s pay as part of the settlement.
On her website, the attorney of 16 years claims, “I have a great deal of skill helping to guide my clients through these confusing and overwhelming times with knowledgeable advice and representation, coupled with respect, understanding, and compassion.”
Fossedal’s license has been suspended.
This is not the first time the attorney has abused or misguided a client. In fact, her online reviews are predominantly – and convincingly – negative.
“I do not recommend Dana Fossedal,” wrote one client who had previously had a will prepared by Fossedal. “It was incompetently done according to another attorney with mis-spelled names, lack of page numbers and most of all, didn’t really qualify as a legal will since it was so incomplete.”
“Avoid this attorney – it was a humiliating and frustrating experience,” the former client advised.
Another client, whose divorce Fossedal had facilitated, stated that Fossedal “had only her own interests at heart.” Fossedal frequently failed to answer emails and to follow through on commitments, for which she “gave every excuse ... from blaming her assistant to technology, just to name a few.”
Fossedal had spent “forever” composing paperwork, spreadsheets and letters, only to produce content full of errors. She spent a disproportionate amount of time “fighting over small stuff that cost more in billing hours than the items were actually worth.”
Another reviewer had equally negative things to say about the attorney: “We feel very misled with this attorney.” The client states that although four months have passed, “there still have been no papers filed or completed, we do not get timely (if any) return phone calls, we consistently have to call the office and leave messages without a response.”
Fossedal now faces charges of first-degree theft.
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