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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I had to file a lawsuit to get the person I borrowed $2505

Customer Question

I had to file a lawsuit to get the person I borrowed $2505 from, to sign my property deed back to me, after I paid the loan back. He intended on keeping it out of spite, per an email he sent to my brother, even though I threatened to sue him & collect legal fees. July 20, He did turn over a Quick Claim Deed to my attorney after the suit was filed, and after I had already gave thousands of dollars to the attorney. I asked the attorney if I was going to have to collect this in the same manner that credit card debt is collected, meaning, on my own in pursuit of the legal fees. I was told that we could file Summary Judgment, which would cost me more money, but it was guaranteed that I would get my money back. I agreed, but the amount I was awarded was over $2k less than what I paid the attorney, and the procedure for collecting from the defendant, was no different than what I asked about. There is no guarantee of collecting, and when I asked my attorney what the purpose was for filing Summary Judgment, he said that's the only way I would have received a Judgment, as that is the process. However, I went online and found the Minutes from the court and it said that filing for Summary Judgment was an overkill, since the deed was already signed. From that & other info I read about the process, am I correct to understand that I could have requested legal fees, without filing for Summary Judgment, or would I not have been able to get a Judgment without it? Was the Judge saying I should have just been happy with my deed and let the fees go? Is that what he meant by overkill? Also, is there a way I can collect the amount of legal fees that I did not get awarded for, as not all of my fees were included in the Summary Judgment, as it was a request for $4603 & my bill from the attorney was $5873 + I paid another attorney $375 to send the defendant a demand letter, which my current attorney told me I could absolutely collect, in addition to his fees, in the Summary Judgement, but the $4603 he itemized as what I was due did not include the $375, or all of the fees that I had even incurred with him, at the time he filed. My attorney did knock off $500 after I told him what the Minutes said, but the Summary Judgment did not do what he guaranteed it to do, so I feel that he owes me a refund on what I paid for that portion of his bill, which is in the neighborhood of $2k, not $500. I'm confused on the Summary Judgment and the necessity of filing it. Lot of info here, so anything you can provide info on, I truly appreciate. Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation. The first step in resolving a dispute with an attorney over the scope of fees being charged (including the value of the work performed) is to try to negotiate with the attorney directly.

If you are unable to reach a resolution with the attorney directly (I am not sure how far you were able to progress with direct negotiations in your situation at this point), you can then use the AZ State Bar Association's Fee Dispute program (see: http://www.azbar.org/media/790427/2012_fee_arb_rules_-_use_this_one.pdf). This is an informal procedure that allows clients to resolve billing disputes with attorneys without having to file a subsequent civil action against their attorney.

Some local (county) bar associations will also have programs, so you may want to contact your local bar association and ask for local referrals as well.

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