Los Angeles, CA asked in Contracts, Criminal Law, Real Estate Law and Legal Malpractice for California

Q: What course of action do I have against an attorney that I believe is guilty of negligence and misrepresentation?

I entered in to a contract that was prepared by an attorney for my step father. I was to be paid $30,000 out of escrow for the sale of my mothers home. I fulfilled my obligations for the contract. The home sold and I was told there was no money left due to a lien. I later found out from the title company that they’d never been informed of the money owed to me from the sale. Never heard my name or got a copy of the contract and had never heard of or spoken to my step fathers attorney. I spoke with his attorney several times including one time he told me he’d just spoken to the title company and that they had said my money was being released to me within 48 hours. Not only did they never turn the contract over to escrow, I have learned that the attorneys wife is the office manager of the realtors that sold the home. They knew of the lien from the start and the contract was only to get me out of the house and facilitated the sale. Without it I would not have let the home be sold. Actions?

4 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: CONTACT A LOCAL LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER TO SEE IF THEY THINK THERE IS A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR NEGLIGENCE.

Joel Gary Selik agrees with this answer

William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Why was it the attorney's obligation to inform escrow of the contract? Why didn't you do it? According to your statement, your father paid the attorney. The attorney's obligation was, therefore, to your father. Also, if the lien ate up the proceeds of the sale, you wouldn't have been paid even if the escrow agent had been informed. The first priority lien takes all the money until the lien is satisfied. You should have an an attorney look at your case, but I see problems.

Yelena Gurevich agrees with this answer

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
Answered
  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in California

A: Consult with a legal malpractice attorney in your state for the attorney to properly make the claim for malpractice.

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich
Answered
  • Studio City, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It’s not clear why this would be a legal malpractice issue rather than a simple breach of contract case. But I agree with attorney light in that if there were not funds to pay you after the liens were paid then it may not matter whether escrow knew or not of your agreement. The key is your written agreement and how the provisions are written. So if you’re willing to pay an attorney review it, then you may get more specific answers as to your rights.

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