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Contingent Fee Contract, Settlement Agreement, and Attorney filed Lien Affidavit help.

Galveston, TX |

I have a Contingent Fee Contract and my case was settled. The attorney immediately placed a Lien Affidavit on a house I rec'd in the agreement. He said I had to sign a paper stating that is was alright, but now, he says his payment is secure so he withdrew from the case. The person I sued never turned over many items they agreed to. The original contract states if he withdrawals, he doesn't get one dime. Can I file a motion to contest his lien at the courthouse myself? Will that stop the sale of the house? I don't mind paying him his fees but his % is not fair when he quit the case. He said it wasn't worth his time + he's getting paid via the lien.

Also, can he file for foreclosure on the lien as I told him about the contract + now he's mad that I caught it. What do I do?

Please help.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You could try to handle this yourself, but that would be a very poor choice because if you did, you would almost certainly lose. You do not know the law or how to prosecute or defend a civil action in court and your adversary, since he is a lawyer, presumably does know these things. That superior knowledge would give him an essentially insurmountable advantage over you.

Depending on facts you do not state, the lawyer's lien may or may not be valid. The only way to test it is to challenge it in court. There is also a legal way to try to stop foreclosure of the purported lien and a legal way to stop the sale of the house. To pursue any of these things with any hope of success, however, you must hire a lawyer who knows what to do and how to do it.

Good luck.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

I figured I would need to get a new lawyer. I have been reading online all day trying to figure out how to properly defend myself and it doesn't appear easy. I have all of the documented paperwork, all of the emails from day one, and all of the contracts with this attorney. I called my real-estate agent and I found out that the title company would place a freeze on his fees until we resolve this, but I am waiting for an answer back as to what they need from me. This way the house can be sold and his portion will be on hold while we work things through, if that is even possible. I guess another attorney will know how to get it back into court the right way. It just doesn't seem ethical for him to place a lien on a piece of property I received, then turn around and quit as my representative, and basically state that his payment is in the bag, so he doesn't need to do anything and/or worry about the person (which was a family member) to have them uphold to their part of the agreement they signed. My family member received every item that I agreed to give them in the settlement. The crazy thing is that it's not a huge amount of items that they are refusing to give me, and it would seem less trouble for all of us if the attorney would have just finished by fining them and/or even speaking to their attorney to retrieve those items, than all of this now. I feel really lost and the thought that he should get paid in full, just doesn't feel right. If he completed this for me, then, I would have no problem with the Contingent Fee Contract at all. This attorney has really hurt my family, and some of these items are worth more than the price of any amount of money as they were items in my family's history. It looks like I will never see any of these items again. Also, some of the items are worth a lot of money that was supposed to be for my own family. Thanks for listening and answering to my question. I will see about finding a new attorney and how much they charge to take a look at all of this. Hopefully it won't break the bank just for another attorney to look at the documents, and let me know something. Have a nice day!

Don Karotkin

Don Karotkin

Posted

It is possible that your lawyer has, in fact, acted unethically. If so, your remedy is by way of a complaint to the State Bar of Texas. SBOT cannot award you any money or anything else of value, but it can and will discipline the lawyer on a finding of professional misconduct. You don't need a lawyer to make a complaint. All of the forms and information you need are on the SBOT website. A link to the website appears below. If you want anything more than discipline for the lawyer, again, you simply must hire another lawyer. No non-lawyer can handle this successfully on his or her own. If you go pro se, I'm afraid you are doomed to failure. Good luck. http://www.texasbar.com

Asker

Posted

Thank you so, so much! I will take a look at their site, and see what I can find out there. I am grateful!

Don Karotkin

Don Karotkin

Posted

You're welcome.

Posted

Mr. Karotkin has given you an excellent answer. You need to hire an attorney to evaluate the lien agreement, fee agreement, and "all the facts". You should take such an action ASAP. Do not wait for the attorney to try and "foreclose" on his "lien" or to fight about the lien when you try and sell the property. It also appears you may also need an attorney to further prosecute whatever the claim is that gives rise to the original contingent fee agreement, if that claim has not been completely resolved.

You need to consult another attorney ASAP.

I would recommend you hire an attorney who is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law.

This answer does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.

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