You can always request a refund, but it sounds like the person you hired to do this work was not hired to represent you, and there is a big difference between helping and representing. It also sounds as if the attorney was not licensed to practice in the district where your bankruptcy was filed and/or had little or no bankruptcy experience. The reason I believe this is because even an inexperienced licensed attorney knows how to file bankruptcy cases online and without the need to travel to the courthouse. Check with the state bar association to determine more about this person's status, or look for more information about this person using the Avvo "Find a Lawyer" search feature. Hope this perspective helps!
You need to see a qualified BK attorney in your area. You can use the find a lawyer function here on Avvo to locate one. Alternatively, the State Bar certifies consumer bankruptcy attorneys and you may be able to locate one using the State Bar website. Your new attorney may be able to obtain a refund for you or advise you if you have a cause of action for malpractice against your prior attorney. Unfortunately, you will probably have to pay for the services of the new attorney, prior to receipt of any refund. Good luck.
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I agree with my colleagues. Additionally, you should try to request your money back; especially if it was his fault that your case got dismissed. Your situation sounds very different from the norm of how most bankruptcy attorneys operate. Most bankruptcy attorneys wont take $5000 up front. More importantly, they will file your case themselves, or electronically, and definitely wont give you a packet to file yourself. Also, in most cases, a bankruptcy attorney is not allowed to charge more than $4000 ($4500 if you are self employed). These numbers are from the trustee's website.
I am sorry to hear that this happened to you. Unfortunately in the past few years many attorneys have flocked to the practice of bankruptcy and have been learning on the job. Seek out an attorney who handles consumer bankruptcy cases exclusively and who has a good reputation in Chapter 13. You can have the bar to refiling lifted by filing a motion with the court. A good attorney will be able to assess your facts and see if you will be a good candidate for having the restriction for filing lifted. Do not mess around with attorneys who dabble in bankruptcy, especially Chapter 13 - it is a recipe for disaster.
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I volunteer at Public Counsel and we often hear horror stories about non attorneys filing for homeowners with results like this. I am doubtful that this person is a licensed attorney. I agree wholeheartedly with my colleagues. You want to make sure this person is licensed to practice in CA and then you might consider reporting the attorney to the US Trustee's office. When we get these horror stories at Public Counsel, (people being overcharged by non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers, attorneys who eggregiously drop the ball, etc.) we send them to the Trustee's office to make a complaint. Only the person harmed can do this - make the complaint. I am horrified by the number of people taking advantage of homeowners in this mortgage crisis. I hope you can turn this around, and best of luck to you. Most able, competent attorneys who focus primarily on bankruptcy will offer you a free consult. Again, best of luck. Stay proactive and aggressive.