Can i sue my bankruptcy lawyer or the trustee's lawyer for an error?

Asked over 2 years ago - Stockton, CA

I filed my bankruptcy in 2007, in the hearing the trustee had said that we would get an exemption of $4,161.50 back after they sold my car. After the car was sold for about $14,000.00 the funds has been disperse to everyone else except myself. We've reach out to my bankruptcy lawyer to determined that the trustee's attorney had over looked our exemption and his office has tried to contact the trustee attorney but to no resolution and the now do not answers my calls. I'm at a lost and don't know where to go from here.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael John Primus

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Exemptions are necessities of life, and from what you describe you should have been given that money. There are time limits on how long you can wait to sue, so when the car was sold and when you found out about the mistake can impact whether you are entitled to make a claim at this time. You can sue your lawyer and/or the chapter 7 trustee. Trustees have qualified immunity which means the trustee gets some special protection but does not mean you will not win. Small claims court is the best choice. Another idea, complain to the Office of the United States Trustee. The US Trustee is the governmental agency that oversees the bankruptcy process and they may help you. Finally, the State Bar takes complaints about lawyers.

    Law Office of Michael J. Primus We are a debt relief agency and help people file for bankruptcy under the... more
  2. Paul Edward Shakarian

    Contributor Level 5

    Answered . A motion will need to be filed in bankruptcy court to make the case trustee turn over funds that are due to you. Read the fee agreement that you signed with your attorney to determine if such a service was included in the agreement. If it was not, they may charge you a fee for this work.

    This response to your questions is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
  3. Paula Brown Sinclair

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Find a better bankruptcy attorney at once, one that has a working relationship with your trustee and the office of the US Trustee. The standing (private business) attorneys are supposed to have errors and omissions insurance to cover mistakes like this. On the other hand, how many months or years have gone by since the car was sold?

    If you do not know a truly capable bankruptcy lawyer, use the attorney-finder at www.nacba.org. I am a longtime proud member of NACBA and trust my CA colleagues to advise accurately and protect client interests aggressively.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
  4. Frank Paul Pipitone

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . This is a typical case of a bankruptcy lawyer thinking their job is done because the case was closed. There is absolutely no excuse for not returning client phone calls, especially when there are thousands of dollars for the client at stake.

    Like Ms. Sinclair said, contact an experienced, competent bankruptcy attorney in your area immediately.

    Also, you could try speaking directly with the trustee and indicate that your attorney is not being responsive.

    Pipitone Law is a debt relief agency according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We help people file for bankruptcy.... more
  5. Alan D. Walton

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Your attorney should file a motion to have the trustee turn over your $4161.50. It is your money, and the trustee cannot misappropriate it. He needs to explain to the judge how he gave away money that he was supposed to give to you if that is what happened. That it is now 5 years later could very well be a problem for you, but since a trustee could conceivably reopen your case 5 years later to administer an asset, you may be able to get this before the judge as well.

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