No Legal Recourse for Lost Home: Texas Bar Dismissed Complaint
(Story by Carol Thompson) When Justin Hunt lost his home to a sheriff sale without his knowledge, he was hoping the Texas Bar Association would entertain his complaint against the lawyers who he alleged failed to return his telephone calls and messages in regard to the loss of his property.
As previously reported, the Ballymote, Ireland, resident purchased a home located at 705 Jeran Drive, Dallas as an investment. He established Eire Realty, LLC in Texas Jan. 31, 2012 with the assistance of Frisco, Texas-based attorneys Brian Merkley and David Krueger. To maintain his new property, Hunt hired a property management company called CCMG, Inc. Soon after, Hunt learned that Eire Realty’s agreement with CCMC, Inc. had been transferred to American Asset Management Partners, LLC (AAMP). The house was rented for $990 per month and all went well for a few months. AAMP, Inc. kept 10 percent of the rent and the remaining balance was forwarded to Hunt.
Then, the payments stopped. AAMP, Inc. began keeping the rent proceeds for lawn mowing and other maintenance, Hunt said.
One year later, Hunt learned by chance that his house had been seized and sold at auction. On or about November 6, 2013, Daniel Walters of Hot Land Landscaping showed up at the Jeran Drive property and announced to Hunt’s make-ready contractors that he now owned the house. Walters told the contractors that he had purchased the property the previous day at a sheriff’s sale.
Hunt began contacting his attorneys and others to find out why his property had been seized. No one returned his telephone calls or email messages. He checked to make sure the taxes were up to date. They were.
Hunt would come to learn that he lost his property for a bill that totaled $631.42. The creditor: Hot Land Landscaping. According to documents pertaining to the case, Hot Land Landscaping purchased the property at a Sheriff auction for $3,300.
One he learned the fate of his property, it was suggested that he make an attempt to purchase it back from the landscaping company, however, at that juncture Hunt did not want to invest more into it. He had already lost approximately $40,000 in equity. Instead, he filed a complaint against the three lawyers involved with his case.
According to the State Bar of Texas, examples of lawyer misconduct may include failure to return client phone calls, emails or letters; failing to appear in court or missing deadlines; refusal to return a client’s file when it has been requested; substance abuse problems that affect his or her ability to practice and not paying client’s part of a settlement after the case has settled.
Despite the lack of a response from the three lawyers, the State Bar of Texas found no wrongdoing. Hunt then appealed the decision to the Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals and again his complaint was denied.
David Krueger, one of the lawyers who assisted Hunt establish his limited liability company, said in a recent interview that he had not received the notice of foreclosure and because he had no knowledge of it he was unable to go to court.
Texas law requires the notice of foreclosure be served on either the owner or the registered agent. Neither was served. The notice presumably was delivered to a tenant, who did not pass the paperwork on to Hunt.
Krueger said his interest in the client was to establish the limited liability company and he was not hired to represent Hunt in the foreclosure proceeding.