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We need to keep the pressure on the NH Family Courts by educating the public about the numerous injustices occurring. Please feel free to send us your information for posting. I have not had any recent dealings with the court system so I do not have current information to post. The best way to deal with these unethical judges, guardian ad litems and lawyers is to post as much on them as you can so that people do not want to do business with them. I have personally known judges that have their own practices as most judges are attorneys first. Hit these people where it counts. Their wallets. Starve them out and cut off their funds. When people do not want to use their services, they will have to change their evil ways or be unemployed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Example On How Attorney Douglas A Thornton of Surry NH Unethically Runs His Law Practice – He Prides Himself On Being A Guardian Ad Litem That Is Smarter Than An Eight Year Old!

I recall speaking with Attorney Douglas A. Thornton of Surry NH, during my divorce.  He was the court appointed Guardian Ad Litem.  I repeatedly told him that my ex-wife was doing everything in her power to alienate the children from me.  I explained how she was making things up and that she was using the kids against me.  Thornton doesn’t believe in Parent Alienation. 

Thornton I remember told me that he was smarter than an eight year old (my oldest son’s age) and knew how to question him to get his answers.  Maybe Doug Thornton can go on the show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”  It would be truly amusing. 

Doug Thornton questioned my sons alright.  He played right into my ex-wife’s warped mind and got all the wrong answers.  As I posted in a previous article, my ex-wife, the one who in my “opinion” has multiple personality disorders.  Thornton was told by my attorney that there were counseling records obtained in discovery from my ex-wife and in our opinions, she was diagnosed with multiple personality disorders and was refusing to be treated.  I remember Thornton’s response all too well.  He said that the records came too late for him to consider them for his findings and he also didn’t have the expertise to interpret them.  Shame on Doug Thornton!  It was his job as GAL to look into the counseling records.  His actions aided my ex-wife in alienating the children from me.  He is incompetent as a GAL and an attorney and should be disbarred. 

I remember listening to Doug Thornton in court speaking to one of the court officers and making a joke of his job.  He said that he had a good routine.  As a GAL he was paid by divorcing parties and as a bankruptcy attorney, he would get paid by these same people at a later time when they had to file bankruptcy.  Does this sound unethical? 

Doug Thornton approached me in court after this comment and asked about the remainder of my bill that I owed him.  I owed him a small amount of money.  I explained I was doing my best but had been experiencing extreme financial hardship.  I had noticed in documents that my ex-wife had paid Thornton very little and she owed him a considerable amount of money.  When I asked him if he would work with me he became irate and threatened to bring me to court and to have me found in contempt of court.  I stated to him that my ex-wife according to his records had hardly paid him and he said that was none of my business. 

I realized some months after my divorce was finalized and I had paid Thornton’s bill that I had no records to show that my debt was paid.  I contacted Thornton and asked him for a final statement.  He became irate with me. 

Below is the first and second email I sent him politely asking for a statement.  Read the emails from the bottom up to follow the conversation.   All correspondence has my name blacked out to protect my minor children.  Read from the bottom to the top to follow the conversation. 

Thornton responds after the second request and states he is busy and is avoids the request.  I then send him another email telling him that I find it ridiculous that he billed over $5,000 for his services and can’t understand why I can’t get a statement.  Thornton then accuses me of throwing my weight around as a police officer.  I have to email him back and tell him I am no longer working as a police officer.  Read the email below and start from the bottom and read to the top. 

So after this bullying email from Doug Thornton, he writes me a letter and sends it to me in PDF format.  He asks me to give this to my current attorney.  I find the third and fourth paragraph disturbing. 

In the third paragraph, Thornton justifies not giving me a final statement since in the past I questioned why he was singling me out and telling me he was going to file court action against me for owing a few hundred dollars when my ex-wife owed him thousands of dollars.  Thornton states that he makes no determination whether it is profitable to pursue fees and he knows of no law that requires him to spend time to collect on a bad debt.  I know I paid Thornton in full.  What does he mean by this?  It appears to me that he may have overbilled me and is letting my ex-wife get away without paying.  Do you see a problem with this.  A GAL that would do this is UNETHICAL. 

In the fourth paragraph, Thornton defends himself as I had stated to him that I had counsel (Which my counsel was dealing with some post divorce issues and wanted me to get up to date records).  I never told him what the counsel was for.  He made an assumption it was to file a lawsuit against him.  Why would Thornton think this way?  From my experiences it’s because he did something wrong.  See the letter below.

So now that you have the facts, do you think this attorney is unethical?  Do you think he has something to hide?  You definitely do not want to give this guy any business.  He will do to you what he did to me.  I feel like he robbed me blind.  As a GAL My opinion is that he is incompetent.  I have had specialized training on questioning children.  When I asked Thornton on the witness stand if he had any training on forensic questioning of children he said no.  I believe it.  So what do you think?  Is Douglas A Thornton smarter than an eight year old?


  1. I was just advised that Doug Thonton is on the NH GAL Boards list of CHANGES IN GUARDIAN AD LITEM STATUS Changes through December 1, 2010. He is listed as "Expired or renewal denied" Click on the following link for the list.


  2. Most definitely don't pay his bill. Let him take you to court and defend even having billed you for GAL services, especially if he's not even a certified GAL. If he's still a GAL he can motion the court to collect your portion of his fees from the GAL Fund. Regardless, any more than $2500 to conduct two or three interviews, read a few papers and file a preliminary and final recommendation is a monumental rip-off, for which you should file an ethics grievance.

    Did you sign a fixed fee agreement with this GAL? If you didn't sign his contract then you owe him precisely nothing. If he refuses to provide an itemized bill then you have a right to claim it's bogus. Even consumer debt collections require an itemized bill, not a statement that bears nothing more than a name and an amount. If he's trying to bill you by the hour and he can't prove that he's done more than 2 hours of work but is billing for 50 hours you have a pretty sound grievance.

    Check out N.H. R.Prof.Conduct 1.5(a)(3), 1.5(a)(6) and especially 1.5(a)(7). If he's not competent (as demonstrated by having a GAL Board certification refused) then he might be in violation of Rule 1.1 if he's continuing to act in that capacity - demand that the court remove him from the case. You can likely easily lump in another half-dozen or so violations that all beget one another.

    As for him not considering matters of mental capacity of your ex, have you tried to have him removed? You can probably gain a lot of mileage by putting it on public record that your wife has been diagnosed with mental illness, and far moreso that the GAL refused to consider that - if you want to push buttons, make sure to take every route that can lead to a potential ethics complaint. It's like setting up a dunk in basketball - position the ball right and you can throw him under a bus when the time is right. If he sees it coming he might well back off and walk away from a few hundred bucks to save his own hide. If the response to the PCC that my ex's first lawyer wrote is any indicator, he'll spend at least a day (of otherwise billable time) writing his defense to a thoroughly drafted ethics complaint.