How do I go about getting reimbursement from wage garnishment? 12 Answers as of October 04, 2013

I filed for chapter 7 in July to end a wage garnishment. The attorney stated I would receive a reimbursement for this. After the meeting with the trustee, my attorney received the check in his office per his request. However, he is now refusing to provide me this check unless I agree to allow him to accompany me to the bank for cashing, and provide him with 1/3 of the amount. Is he entitled to this amount? We have no contract, written or verbal, that he is to receive any portion of these funds. What should I do? The trustee also abandoned the estate.

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Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Absent an agreement the money is yours. But if the lawyer did work in recovering the funds you of course agree that he does deserve some compensation.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 10/4/2013
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
File a complaint with your state bar. In California the forms are on their web site. File it and then send him/her a copy. That is pure BS.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/3/2013
Law Office of David T Egli | David T. Egli
Review your fee agreement for your bankruptcy. If your attorney was owed fees at the time your petition for bankruptcy was filed, he is a creditor of your estate and the automatic bankruptcy stay would prohibit him from collecting those fees. If he did collect those fees from you after filing, it would be a violation of the stay and you could file a motion to recover the amount he collected and sanctions against him for violating the stay. When you get your discharge that will discharge any liability to your attorney for those fees. Part of the discharge order is an injunction against creditors collecting on discharged debts. If your attorney collect his discharged fees from your garnished wages, you could file a motion to recover the fees from him in the bankruptcy court. If your attorney provided you services after filing not included in the fees covered by the fee agreement, especially if it included him taking a portion of your recovered wages, there should have been a new contract between you. You indicate that there was no contract for him to be paid out of the recovered wages. Give your attorney a written demand that he turn over the check to you. If he doesn't, you can either file a motion in the bankruptcy court to compel him to turn it over or file a complaint with the state bar association. Filing a complaint with the state bar would be easier. However, should you need to hire a new attorney to represent you in the bankruptcy court, you can request in your motion that part of the sanctions against your old attorney include payment of the attorney fees for your new attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/3/2013
Stuart P Gelberg
Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
Read the retainer agreement. If you can't resolve it ask bar association for mediation
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/3/2013
Joshua E. McNally, P.A. | Joshua E. McNally
I would advise that you write a certified letter to your attorney informing him that unless he turns the check over to you within five days you will report him to the Bar. Absent an agreement with him regarding those funds he has no claim to them and is likely trying to take advantage of you. It's actions like that which give lawyers a bad reputation.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 10/3/2013
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C.
    Gottlieb & Goren, P.C. | Aaron W. Goren
    File a Motion with the Bankruptcy Court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    You should review the terms of your original fee agreement with your attorney. If there is nothing there regarding out-of-the-ordinary services then I would write a demand letter asking him to forward the recovered funds in full. If he still refuses you could contact your local bar association or the office of attorney regulation to request assistance in resolving a fee dispute.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    If you understood your attorney to say that you would be entitled to receive all money garnished from you as a result of filing bankruptcy, someone has made a major mistake. You are only entitled to receive a refund of property that is exempt and if 1/3 of the money that was garnished is not exempt, then that money belongs to your bankrutpcy estate. If your attorney is claiming an interest in this money for legal fees earned for services not included in your fee agreement, such as for the additional effort to obtain the return of this money, you have some important decisions to make. The State Bar has a fee dispute committee and you may file a grievance with them to challenge this arrangement. Otherwise, the attorney can deposit this money into the attorney trust account where it can sit until you work things out.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    William Bidwell, Attorney at Law | Bill Bidwell
    Your bankruptcy attorney should have handled it as part of the original agreement/fee for filing Chapt 7 unless you agreed otherwise. If your attorney is wrongfully keeping the funds, then you may file a grievance with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    Report the attorney to the bar association.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    The Law Offices of Deborah Ann Stencel | Deborah A. Stencel
    Your attorney is only entitled to that amount if you have an agreement that states he is. Some attorneys do charge for recouping funds from garnishments. I personally only charge if I have to sue to get the funds. You can ask your attorney to provide you with a copy of the agreement that you made that states he is entitled to these funds. You can also complain to the state bar if he refuses to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 10/3/2013
    Idaho Bankruptcy Law | Paul Ross
    Ask where in the contract it says he gets to keep it. Tell him you will turn him into the bar if he does not turn over the funds.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/3/2013
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