October 11, 2016Bad lawyer

Debtor was a disbarred lawyer who did not want to pay a fee for a personal injury case that he received to another lawyer.

Background

  • Debtor was a disbarred attorney
  • Case settled for $1,980,000.
  • Disbarred attorney received $661,879.92 but did not pay the other attorney who was entitled to a split of the award.

  • Disbarred attorney filed for Bankruptcy before paying the money owed to other attorney.
  • Disbarred attorney took the position with the Court that the debtor was dischargeable and he did not owe anything further.
  • Disbarred attorney claimed that his client never agreed to the split fees.
  • Court found that client was informed.
  • Since there was no evidence that the client objected to the split fee arrangement, agreement was valid.
  • Knowing that the other attorney had not received his fees, disbarred attorney paid himself, clients, a friend, employees and at least one other attorney.
  • Disbarred attorney promised to pay from a settlement from another case but never did.

Bankruptcy Court Decision

  • Debt was nondischargeable and Disbarred attorney was to pay the split fee.
  • The acts of conversation of the money to avoid paying were Willful and Malicious and, therefore, non-dischargeable.

No wonder this attorney was disbarred – his actions in bankruptcy court demonstrate his inability to follow ethical conduct.   Shame on him…..Justice prevailed.