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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  13+ years of experience
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I have negotiated a verbal agreement to resolve a lawsuit against

Customer Question

I have negotiated a verbal agreement to resolve a lawsuit against the defendant (with my lawyer present) and this agreement was recorded in front of the court the same day.

When I asked my attorney how is this agreement going to be implemented in practical terms, he told me not to worry about it, him and opposing lawyer are going to take care of it.

However, the money that was awarded to me by the agreement has been taken out of the bank account by the plaintiff and spent (money's now gone).

I went back to court and won the judgment against the defendant(70K), however, money's gone and chances of collecting are slim to none.

I feel that my lawyer did not represent me well (money should have been immediately put in an escrow account). There're also these significant attorney fees (over 30K) I paid in order to get the judgment (after the agreement was recorded).
What should I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer! My name isXXXXX very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from this information.

 

How much time went by between the date the verbal agreement was recorded in court and the time that the defendant took money out of the account?

 

How did you find out that the defendant took money out of the account?

 

Did your lawyer know that the defendant had 70k in a bank account on the date the agreement was recorded.

 

What did the defendant buy with the 70k?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1. approximately 45 days passed from the date agreement was recorded until money was taken from the account

 

2. I had disagreement with the defendant in how the agreement should be interpreted so we went back to the court and that's how I found out that money was gone.

 

3. Yes, my lawyer did know that there was money in the defendants account. Defendant told us so in the negotiation process.

 

4. Defendant paid personal taxes with the money (65K). Later we won a judgment against defendant for disagreement about the agreement.

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.

If you feel that the lawyer was negligent, the you can sue him for malpractice for the amount that you lost. You can also report him to the state bar.

 

Normally, what the lawyer should do is get the agreement on the record and immediately get a proposed agreed order to the other side for signature. If a legitimate dispute arises due to an ambiguity in the oral agreement, then the lawyer may not have been at fault unless he could have reasonably avoided the ambiguity on the record.

 

If there was not an outstanding tax lien that existed before the date of your judgment, then you may be able to sue to recover the money back under the theory of a fraudulent transfer.

http://thecolemanlawfirm.net/Fraudulent_Transfer_Law.html

 

You can read more about that concept at the link above.

 

 


Please know that there may be a delay between your follow up question and my answers because I may be helping other customers. Rest assured, I will get back to you. In the meantime, you can learn more about me by clicking on my name at the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

This information is provided so you may better discuss legal issues with your attorney. Consult a local attorney for legal advice before acting. You may be able to find an attorney in your area to further assist you at http://www.attorneysaccess.com/ or http://www.martindale.com/.

 

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus would be greatly appreciated! Also, please know that you can always request me for a future question by starting your new question with "This question is for Maverick".

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

"lawyer may not have been at fault unless he could have reasonably avoided the ambiguity on the record."

 

I feel that the recorded agreement was somewhat ambiguous and did not address the issue of protecting the money from being spent.

 

When I first filled a lawsuit, I explained my lawyer that I'm afraid defendant is going to spend disputed money and I will end up with an empty judgment. Therefore we asked and got court ordered injunction. Defendant took the money anyway.

At the end I ended up with an empty judgment just as I predicted.

 

Are there malpractice lawyers that are willing to take a percentage of the judgment if we win (since I don't have more money to spend on litigation)?

 

 

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.

If you got the court ordered injunction, then I am not seeing how your lawyer is negligent unless he unreasonably delayed in getting it.

 

If the defendant violated the court injunction, then you can seek to have him held in contempt and jailed or fined.

 

Normally there would have to be much more than 70k at stake for a malpractice lawyer to take this type of case on a contingency basis.

 

 

Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 3431
Experience: 13+ years of experience
Maverick and 6 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well... as a result of not protecting the money, (by putting it in the escrow account), defendant was able to take money from the account.

That's where his fault lies, I believe, especially considering that that was my biggest fear from the very beginning.

 

Judge fined defendant 1,000 for taking the money from the account and scheduled another hearing to resolve agreement differences.

In that later hearing, I got a separate judgment for 70K, however as I mentioned it's not collectible.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
BTW, we got injunction way before agreement was reached...
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.
See my follow up response on your other question.
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 3431
Experience: 13+ years of experience
Maverick and 6 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I need your opinion.

What do you think are my chances of prevailing in a lawsuite against my lawyer for NOT structuring agreement in such a way so that money is to be immediatelly put in the escrow account.

Instead, he left up to the defendant to make distributions. Defendant since has spent the money, we went back to court and got the judgment but it's an empty one.

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.

The chances depend on whether you can find a lawyer who is willing to testify on the stand as an expert witness that what your lawyer did constitutes negligence. To me it appears that he may have been negligent, but you will need to hire an expert witness to prove that aspect up.

 

 


Please know that there may be a delay between your follow up question and my answers because I may be helping other customers. Rest assured, I will get back to you. In the meantime, you can learn more about me by clicking on my name at the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

This information is provided so you may better discuss legal issues with your attorney. Consult a local attorney for legal advice before acting. You may be able to find an attorney in your area to further assist you at http://www.attorneysaccess.com/ or http://www.martindale.com/.

 

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus would be greatly appreciated! Also, please know that you can always request me for a future question by starting your new question with "This question is for Maverick".

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What are the chances (in your OPINION) of finding a lawyer who is willing to testify on the stand as an expert witness that what my lawyer did constitutes negligence?

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.

If you can afford to pay one $300 per hour to review your case and prepare an expert opinion, I would say, pretty good.

Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 3431
Experience: 13+ years of experience
Maverick and 6 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the payment.

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