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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?
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.
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.
You can read more about that concept at the link above.
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"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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
If you can afford to pay one $300 per hour to review your case and prepare an expert opinion, I would say, pretty good.
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