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LdiJ

Senior Member
To be honest, if your husband was a health care administrator, therefore an employee I simply don't see how he could have ever owed the IRS enough to justify $200,000 of attorney fees. If the attorney only came to Texas twice to negotiate with the IRS I do not see how $200,000 of attorney fees could have been racked up.

Even at $500.00 per hour $200,000 would be 400 hours. That is an enormous amount of time.
 

quincy

Senior Member
To be honest, if your husband was a health care administrator, therefore an employee I simply don't see how he could have ever owed the IRS enough to justify $200,000 of attorney fees. If the attorney only came to Texas twice to negotiate with the IRS I do not see how $200,000 of attorney fees could have been racked up.

Even at $500.00 per hour $200,000 would be 400 hours. That is an enormous amount of time.
I agree that the figures seem out of whack. Whether after the amount of time that has passed the attorney fees can be challenged as excessive is something I don't know, though. Certainly if the matter winds up as a collections action in court, the excessiveness of the fees would be something to argue in defense.
 

HighwayMan

Super Secret Senior Member
Even at $500.00 per hour $200,000 would be 400 hours. That is an enormous amount of time.
Yes - the OP should review the attorney's bills. If the husband dealt with it alone and she never saw a bill perhaps she should start by getting copies of all the billing statements to review them.

OP - What was the total amount of taxes the IRS is owed?
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
It was over unpaid taxes on wages at a place of employment. They said he was responsible.
Putting the pieces together — that your husband was a healthcare administrator, that he owed for unpaid taxes on wages, and that the litigation was in U.S. District Court — I'm guessing that what you mean was that the IRS determined he owed for the taxes that were withheld from the wages of other employees but that the company did not pay over to the IRS. That would mean the IRS determined him a "responsible person" and imposed upon him a penalty (known as the trust fund recovery penalty) against him in the amount of the withheld taxes that were not paid to the IRS. Is that right? If so, that helps explain a bit why the litigation was costly (though $200,000 is still a lot). Litigation in district court over whether he was in fact a responsible person can involve a lot of discovery and pre-trial motions, and the trial itself in district court can take several days. Paying a lawyer by the hour, which is how the lawyer would typically be compensated, can quickly add up. I'd need to see the fee agreement and the work done to know if $200,000 was truly an earned fee in that instance.

If I'm correct on what type of liability this is, I'm not sure whether that tax debt would be a community debt in Texas (i.e. a debt that you'd be partly responsible for as his wife under community property laws). I don't practice in Texas and haven't researched it. If it is not a community debt, then perhaps the lawyer's bill is also not a community debt either. You might want to ask a Texas family law attorney about that. If neither debt is a community property debt then both the IRS and the lawyer can only look to your husband's estate to get paid. The proceeds from house that's up for sale apparently are already pretty much all earmarked for the IRS. If what is left over is not enough to fully pay the lawyer, he may be out of luck for whatever the estate cannot pay.

Is the litigation in the federal district court done?
 

quincy

Senior Member
I will send a message to CavemanLawyer, a forum member who practices law in the state of Texas, to see if he can review this thread.

Although this is not CavemanLawyer's area of practice, perhaps he can provide some valuable information and advice for Texashelp.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Although this is not CavemanLawyer's area of practice, perhaps he can provide some valuable information and advice for Texashelp.
Good idea. :) If he's familiar with Texas community property law he'll have some better insight on the community property part of this than I do for sure. I'm familiar with community property generally, but each community property state is a bit different and I won't hazard a guess on how this would go in Texas.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Good idea. :) If he's familiar with Texas community property law he'll have some better insight on the community property part of this than I do for sure. I'm familiar with community property generally, but each community property state is a bit different and I won't hazard a guess on how this would go in Texas.
Texas is a world all its own. :)

The message was sent to CavemanLawyer but I don't know how quickly he will respond.
 

Texashelp

Member
Is the litigation in the federal district court done?

Yes it is. You pretty much hit on it all.

I want to thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions and answer as best as y’all can with the information provided. After all this I just needed to make sure my home is safe from the lawyer and Irs. I can lose everything else but not my home.
Again, thank you both.
 

quincy

Senior Member
We appreciate the thanks, Texashelp, so thank you.

You might want to check your thread for updates later, in case CavemanLawyer stops by.

Good luck.
 

Texashelp

Member
I received a notice of setting initial case management conference. It is for the lawyer s home state.
Considering I don’t have the money, can I ask what are my options? If any.
Thanks in advance
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
I received a notice of setting initial case management conference. It is for the lawyer s home state.
Considering I don’t have the money, can I ask what are my options? If any.
Thanks in advance
Are you saying that the attorney has sued you in TN? If so, that is improper as TN would not have subject matter jurisdiction over you. If so, you should respond, officially, that TN does not have subject matter jurisdiction over you, and ask the judge to dismiss the case.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I received a notice of setting initial case management conference. It is for the lawyer s home state.
Considering I don’t have the money, can I ask what are my options? If any.
Thanks in advance
You might be able to appear telephonically (if you need to appear at all).

I think you need some personal direction from a lawyer in Texas. Have you checked out your area for legal aid clinics.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Are you saying that the attorney has sued you in TN? If so, that is improper as TN would not have subject matter jurisdiction over you. If so, you should respond, officially, that TN does not have subject matter jurisdiction over you, and ask the judge to dismiss the case.
I disagree. TN courts certainly would have subject matter jurisdiction. The Tennessee court of general jurisdiction would have the power to resolve a breach of contract case between the parties, assuming there is personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

If the OP is being sued in TN I would suggest consulting a TN civil litigation lawyer to find out how best to deal with it.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I would consult with an attorney in Texas first, who can review facts and let you know what is going on. The Texas attorney can then refer you to an attorney in Tennessee if necessary.
 

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