The Six-Figure Negative Fee

Here’s an interesting one: The Conroe Courier reports a half-million dollar civil verdict against a criminal lawyer in Montgomery County, Texas (the county to the north of Harris County) whose client accused him of extortion. Apparently the lawyer charged the client $1000 for a motion to revoke probation on a felony DWI case and then, after the hearing, demanded another $5,000. Details are sketchy, but there was an allegation that the lawyer passed a message along to Hernandez “mentioning prison as a consequence”.

The jury took exception, found the lawyer liable, and awarded $500,000 in actual damages. They were scheduled to begin deliberating punitive damages when the lawyer agreed to pay $100,000 in settlement.


0 responses to “The Six-Figure Negative Fee”

  1. I wish I would have known I could file on this type of thing. Similar thing happened to me during my divorce. My attorney told me if I didn’t settle I could be looking at jail time. Yea I know sounds stupid but bet it happens more often than people think.

  2. Edintaly, this is a good reason for the client to ask for a written fee agreement with any lawyer. Beware the lawyer who won’t put the whole agreement into writing.

    Thanks, Hunter. Fixed it.

  3. Mark, my issue wasn’t about fees. I could go into details but the specifics of my case are so egregious, if the facts were known it might lead to civil war or at the very least, it would make baby jesus cry. Suffice it to say, it was the straw that finally got me back in school to study law.

  4. I’m amazed that any attorney would not use a written contract. Of course, assuming that the allegations were true, it makes sense an attorney wouldn’t use a contract if they wanted to “add on” a fee that was never discussed.

  5. Assuming that the allegations were true, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of $5,000 add-on fees to justify the risk of a lawsuit.

  6. Finding an attorney who will sue another attorney is harder it seems than finding a legitimate claim against one.

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