Law firm wants out of dispute between woman, step-mother over deceased man's proceeds

Kelly Holleran May 1, 2012, 2:48am


A law firm wants to be released from liability after it says a woman and her step-mother fail to agree on how to split the more than $20,000 left to them after their father and husband died.

Speigts and Worrich Law Firm filed a petition for interpleader in Jefferson County District Court against Carole Hebert and Evelyn Johnson.

In its complaint, Speights and Worrich alleges it began working for Carole Hebert and Johnson to interpret the will left behind by Carole Hebert's husband, Ollie Hebert, who is also Johnson's father. Carole Hebert and Johnson had been in disagreement over how much money each was supposed to receive following Ollie Hebert's death.

After examining Ollie Hebert's will, Speights and Worrich determined that he had left all his real property to his children and the remainder of his estate to his wife, Carole Hebert, according to the petition.

However, the law firm is not certain which party is entitled to receive money Ollie Hebert gained from a settlement with an insurance company concerning real property, the court document states.

"Plaintiff engaged in hours of legal research trying to decide who was legally entitled to this money," the petition says. "However, Plaintiff's efforts were to no avail. It appears that Texas law does not characterize a cause of action against one's insurer as personal or real property. Nor does Texas law characterize an insurance claim as personal or real property, and likewise there is no classification for settlement proceeds stemming from real property damage whether or not a defendant-insurer admits liability under the policy."

Because of its dilemma, Speights and Worrich attempted to mediate an agreement between Carole Hebert and Johnson. Carole Hebert was willing to split the money with Johnson, but Johnson wanted all the funds for herself, and the parties could not come to an agreement, according to the petition. Since then, Johnson has hired an attorney, the court documents state.

Speights and Worrich claims it holds the check for $21,150.87 and is willing to release it to whichever party is owed the money.

In its petition, Speights and Worrich asks to be released from liability and to be awarded its costs in bringing the petition and other relief the court deems just.

Jason B. Speights, Todd A. Worrich and Brennan M. Kucera of Speights and Worrich in San Antonio will be appearing pro se.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B192-281

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