Man sues divorce attorney over botched representation, false billing

GALVESTON � Alleging his motion for a divorce was bungled from the start, a Galveston County man is suing his lawyer for more than $50,000 in damages.

Randal Mack Hall claims Houston attorney Guillermo De La Garza and his firm Bill De La Garza & Associates PC violated many aspects of a contract they entered on Nov. 1, 2005, for the case against Hall's wife.

The suit was filed on June 22 in Galveston County District Court.

Chief among the plaintiff's grievances are poor management of essential paperwork, misrepresentation, lack of communication and erroneous invoicing.

"The defendants wholly failed to properly handle the case and to move the matter toward a conclusion," the original petition says.

The plaintiff's assets and the value thereof were highly contested in the proceeding, according to court documents.

Hall explains that hundreds of documents from his personal accountant were given to De La Garza, but the defendant blatantly mishandled them.

"Mr. De La Garza was totally negligent in his management and retention of that confidential information," the suit says. "He kept no central catalog, directory, or index of the documents that he had received."

The plaintiff alleges "unnecessary multiplication" in the fictitious entries in De La Garza's bills.

Hall claims he paid the defendants up to $40,000 and the counsel representing his spouse more than $240,000.

"If Hall had received the full degree of candor from the defendants to which he was entitled, including a disclosure of their mishandling of his documents and case, he would not have employed the defendants or allowed their representation to continue," the suit says.

The case, which lists a total of nine counts of alleged complaints, ultimately shows the defendant did not punctually prepare the temporary orders and enter them by the court despite telling the plaintiff that the litigation would last between six months to a year.

"After 20 months of inactivity, Mr. Hall was forced to terminate the defendants," the suit says.

Houston attorney Steven A. Leyh is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV1022

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