What is the best course of action now?
3 attorney answers
Your description of your situation is a little vague and confusing. However, it appears that you settled a personal injury suit or other civil suit against some third party in a suit in Florida prior to your filing of the bankruptcy. You properly listed the proceeds of that Florida case ($7000) in your bankruptcy case in Alabama and the Trustee found that money to be part of your exempt property and thus not a part of the bankruptcy estate. As an exempt asset it was NEVER really part of your bankruptcy estate. Your Discharge ended your bankruptcy case and any further involvement of the Alabama Bankruptcy Court. Now the $7000 is just like any other asset you own and is not subject to anything related to the bankruptcy.
Your remedy now is in a Florida civil court. Possibly by filing a motion in the Florida Court that you originally filed the civil lawsuit and asking that court to require that the proceeds of the settlement be paid into the court's registry and interpleading the attorney(s) holding the funds. Or possibly by filing a separate/new lawsuit directly against the attorney(s) seeking payment to you of these funds or of these funds minus the claim of the male attorney. (NOTE: If there was a valid attorney lien on these funds prior to the bankruptcy filing AND you did not file a motion to avoid the lien in the bankruptcy court then the lien probably "survived the bankruptcy" and is still enforceable.)
Hire a local Florida attorney to pursue your claim to the funds in a Florida Court. My opinion is that this is too complicated a matter for you to pursue on your own.
Licensed to practice in the State of Georgia only. The statements provided herein are for general informational purposes and should not be relied upon as a legal opinion or statement of the law. An attorney licensed to practice law in your locality should be consulted as to the law in your state.
An attorney's lien may not have to be filed to be valid. In most states, an attorney has a lien for work done on the case. The best thing to do is try to work out a deal with the prior attorney. See what he wants and try to settle with him. That will facilitate release of the funds. The attorney holding the funds does not wan to get sued. That is why she will not disburse funds until everyone is in agreement. You can hire an attorney to help you, but this settlement is quite small and that would be more fees down the drain.
Please note this is to be considered general advice and not legal advice about any particular situation. The answering of any question does not...
Did you have an attorney handling your bankruptcy case for you? If so, get him involved. If not, I'd advise you to hire another attorney experienced in bankruptcy matters to handle this for you.
This opinion is meant for general education purposes only. If you are not an existing client, do not construe anything in the email to make you a client. The attorney's opinion is based...