A bankruptcy judge in Broward County, Florida, has ordered the arrest of a lawyer jailed who failed to show up for a show-cause hearing on Tuesday, later attributing her absence to the need to get medical attention for her daughter’s “serious gum condition.”
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Olson found lawyer Tina Talarchyk in contempt of court (PDF) and ordered her held until she pays nearly $11,000 to the court clerk and turns over trust account records to a chapter 7 bankruptcy examiner. The Daily Business Review (sub. req.) and Gossip Extra have stories “Lawyer Jailed”.
Gossip Extra calls Talarchyk a “socialite” who is “one of the area’s most prominent defenders of broke folks.” The funds to be turned over to the court clerk represent the money that should be left in Talarchyk’s trust account when her earned fees are subtracted from the $24,000 apparently paid for a fee and cost retainer, Olson said. The judge noted the amount of the retainer is in question, however.
Talarchyk and the client first said the lawyer jailed was paid $25,000 for the retainer and a filing fee, then said it was $24,000, Olson said. And Talarchyk’s former bankruptcy partner, David Lloyd Merrill, raised more questions about the retainer in an sworn court filing that claimed Talarchyk was trying to cause problems for him.
Merrill claims Talarchyk told him she would tell the court the actual retainer was $50,000, but that Merrill had taken half of it for an alimony payment to his ex-wife. Merrill’s motion deemed the allegation “nonsense.” The Daily Business Review says Olson is known for sanctioning lawyers.
Talarchyk said in a motion for stay (PDF) pending appeal that she had already deposited the money with the clerk. See more from the Daily Business Review