EXCLUSIVE: Unpaid attorneys take Smith Co. to court - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

EXCLUSIVE: Unpaid attorneys take Smith Co. to court

Posted: Updated:
  • CBS19.tv Web ExclusivesMore>>

  • Web Exclusive: Technology helping house calls make a comeback

    Web Exclusive: Technology helping house calls make a comeback

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:44:03 GMT
    You know the feeling when you or your child gets sick, it can be really tough to get out of bed and drag yourself to the doctor's office.  In some places now technology is bringing the doctor to you.More >>
    You know the feeling when you or your child gets sick, it can be really tough to get out of bed and drag yourself to the doctor's office.  In some places now technology is bringing the doctor to you.More >>
  • Moms-to-be learn how to be Fit for Two

    Moms-to-be learn how to be Fit for Two

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:54 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:54:43 GMT
    Exercising during pregnancy may have more benefits than you realize. Research finds it can make labor and delivery easier on your body. There are also benefits for baby. As little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise, three times per week enhances the newborn child's brain development.  In this week's Fit City, find out how ETMC is trying to create strong moms and healthy babies with one of its programs. More >>
    Exercising during pregnancy may have more benefits than you realize. Research finds it can make labor and delivery easier on your body. There are also benefits for baby. As little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise, three times per week enhances the newborn child's brain development.  In this week's Fit City, find out how ETMC is trying to create strong moms and healthy babies with one of its programs. More >>
  • Web Exclusive: Rob Lowe is getting "sharky" for a TV network

    Web Exclusive: Rob Lowe is getting "sharky" for a TV network

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:45 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:45:11 GMT
    Actor Rob Lowe is lending his comedic talents to the Discovery channel.  In a new promo for Shark Week he throws up chum while riding two sharks.More >>
    Actor Rob Lowe is lending his comedic talents to the Discovery channel.  In a new promo for Shark Week he throws up chum while riding two sharks.More >>
SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -

County leaders were served Thursday morning with a petition for Writ of Mandamus. The complaint, filed Monday in District Court, calls for a ruling that would force the county to pay attorneys for their work in the county's family court between July 18, 2013 and present.

The saga of unpaid family lawyers goes back to June of this year when county commissioners and Judge Joel Baker begrudgingly approved a final last expansion of the 321st District Court's budget. With several months left in the fiscal year, Baker said at that point it was clear someone had to control the spending.

"To finish out the year, if we let things go, it would cost $1,332,000 dollars," he said on June 19. "And we just can't do that. There are too many other needs in the county."

A week later Judge Carole Clark--the one responsible for the court's budget--defended the spending.

"What do you compare that to?" she said on June 25. "A decade ago families were more intact than they are now."

Clark said there are more cases than ever and that the county has understaffed her main group of lawyers who handle them. She turned to outside help--paid at a comparatively reasonable $75 an hour.

Five of those outside attorneys have filed a case against the county.

Their complaint says they were told to drop the cases they were working on when commissioners ordered that no work done after July 18 would be paid. But the State Bar of Texas advised them they could not ethically withdraw from several cases.

The attorneys say they continued their work on those cases. According to invoices submitted for payment, they racked up $6,795 dollars in fees that have not been paid.

The attorneys accuse the commissioners court of voting to decline payment without reviewing the "reasonableness" of the invoices. They cite laws and cases which they believe clearly establish that they are supposed to be paid from the general fund of the county even if that amount exceeds the amount budgeted.

Those attorneys want the county's official order about not paying for work done past July 18 struck down. They also want commissioners forced to authorize payment.

County leaders said the county attorney would not let them comment.

One of the five attorneys who filed the complaint declined to comment. The other four did not return phone calls.

Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.