Neighbor filed lawsuit over Texas fence/property line. We paid an attorney a sizeable retainer to handle case. Assumed would be over at 1st hearing since we had at least 2 surveys, less than 6 years old. 1st was 1-1/2 yrs. old at time suit was filed. It was from when we bought our property. The other was about 4-1/2 yrs. old and from the previous owner's purchase of same property. Our attorney came to Court completely unprepared and ducked out of Court before we were called and disappeared for about 1-1/2 hours. When our attorney re-surfaced, he approached the Judge with the statement "Judge, I read the book" while holding up a book of Texas Statutes. There was nothing else in his briefcase and I mean nothing. I watched him rifle through nothing for 10 minutes, off and on, before he initially disappeared. He then allowed the Judge to order a new survey (later tossed because new survey was biased) without mentioning our surveys or disputing the opposing attorney's false statements concerning the fence we built. We were ordered to remove the fence eventhough the neighbor's attorney described it inaccurately and as about 1/3rd the length it actually was. We also honored a 7 day period where our neighbor was given time to produce a survey she said she had but never made any attempt to bring forward and chose to file a lawsuit during that time instead. Our attorney did not dispute the facts presented or the fact the fence was built prior to our having any knowledge of a lawsuit, injunction or restraining order that was filed. The only stipulation about fence removal was that if the outcome was in our favor, the neighbor would have to pay to re-build. There were no other subjects or statements provided at this hearing by either side. Now, 2-1/2 years later we are set for trial and there was never even any determination a trial was necessary. I have proof that our neighbor lied in her Original Petition and that her attorney made misleading and inaccurate statements (not saying he knew the statements were wrong) at the first hearing. This is not a he said, she said kind of deal. I have irrefutable proof of the innacuracies both in our neighbor's Original Petition and the neighbor's attorney's statements in Court. I also have proof (in the form of multiple surveys on my property) that the neighbor is wrong about where the property line lies. I also caught her surveryors moving permanent survey markers and confronted them at the time. The response I got was they "could move the markers if they wanted to because they do lots of surveys in the area and probably surveyed our property at some earlier time." I can prove this survey company has not surveyed this property during the last 60ish years. I could add lots more detail, but this is the general gist of where we have been and are now. Our retainer money is gone and we borrowed that. We obviously made a bad choice in attorney. The question is: Is there anything we can do, short of hiring another attorney (no way to get additional funds at this point), to save our investment in our home? Is it impossible to write a letter to the Judge or something? A loss would leave us with a lien against our property making it fruitless to continue to pay for it and selling is not an option and wouldn't solve anything anyway. We need another avenue to approach this issue and hopefully save ourselves from our neighbor. Thank you for any help you can provide.
Well you can't afford a lawyer and you seem to be bright and you have all the documents, so why not represent yourself at the trial? Could you do any worse than your attorney? The judge is obligated to help you along on the procedural points if you are alone. That's all I can think of.
23 years as attorney NY and FL Bars.
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