Los Angeles divorce lawyer Marvin M. Mitchelson was sued for $48,000 Friday in Orange County by an Irvine woman who claims the well-known attorney failed to represent her personally in her divorce action.
The Superior Court lawsuit filed on behalf of Adele M. Gallade accuses Mitchelson of breaching a Nov. 16, 1983, contract to handle all matters in her case and of fraudulently representing that he would do all the work himself.
Gallade contends that Mitchelson said "he, himself, would conduct work on the case, but he sent other persons to act on his behalf, thus denying (her) the specific representation of Marvin M. Mitchelson for which she had contracted."
The suit said she would not have paid a non-refundable $25,000 retainer, to be applied against 20% of any settlement he won for her, had she known that Mitchelson would not personally work on her case.
She quickly terminated the relationship, but agreed to permit Mitchelson to keep $2,000 of the retainer for work already done, the suit states.
The suit seeks a refund of the remaining amount of the retainer, unspecified general damages and $25,000 in punitive damages for alleged fraud.
Mitchelson, whose suit on behalf of Michelle Triola Marvin against actor Lee Marvin established certain legal rights for live-in lovers and brought "palimony" into the English language, was not available for comment.