State Bar Says Dallas Attorney Tom Corea Can No Longer Be Dallas Attorney

Categories: Legal Battles

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Tom Corea
After his father died in a nursing home operated by Healthsouth Corp., Howard Wright sued the company for medical malpractice and in January 2011 agreed to a $225,000 settlement. A good chunk of that, 36 percent, went to his lawyer, Tom Corea, and another $20,000 went to pay off a pair of liens, but that still left Wright with $124,000.

Wright, like quite a few of Corea's clients, never saw a dime. When Wright demanded his money, Corea balked, claiming that the agreement had been for a 40 percent cut. Then, Corea claimed he had to renegotiate the agreement to pay off the Medicare lien, which went on for several months until Wright discovered that the settlement money was nowhere to be found. Wright filed a lawsuit alleging Corea had taken the money and spent it on himself, his wife, and Whistlestop Enterprises, the family's quarter horse operation.

He also filed a complaint with the Texas State Bar alleging professional misconduct. That complaint worked its way through the attorney disciplinary process until an evidentiary panel determined earlier this month that Corea had failed to give Wright his settlement funds and had engaged in "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

The State Bar fined Corea $4,642.64 and, more important, determined he should no longer be allowed to practice law. The disbarment was signed on October 15, but is not final, said State Bar spokeswoman Kim Bueno. Corea has a pending motion for a new trial, and the judgment is subject to appeal. You can read the decision here.

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29 comments
victimnumberwhat
victimnumberwhat

does it really matter if wright was paid.  if you dig deep enough he finally paid ONLY after Mr. Hindman stayed on him day and night for around 3 months and AFTER the warrants  had already been issued for his arrest, actually it was paid the day before they actually caught up with him and arrested him!  Theft is Theft, did he actually put the money where it was suppose to go when he got it, or did he spend it and stall with every excuse in the world, until he was backed in a corner?  My hope and prayer is that this jackass goes to the pen for a LONG TIME.  Im sure he will have fun drawing pictures on the walls in there!!!  Maybe he won't have to draw pics at all, if that is what he likes to look at.

saetzjw
saetzjw

I am an attorney licensed by the State of Texas who was also cheated out of approximately $100,000 by Corea($240,000 based on contract)-I filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas, which they ignored (prior to the felony indictments being issued).  I'm disappointed in the State Bar's reaction and also want everyone to know that Corea not only ripped off clients, but fellow attys.  We will never see a penny of that $ due to bankruptcy, but I hope gets significant jail time.

mjhindman
mjhindman

I represent Mr. Wright in his action against Corea, et al. It might have been helpful to this story if I had been contacted.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I have to add, I see this guy's pic and can't help but think with a curly black wig and a strapless blue sequined dress, I've seen him at the Rose Room.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Wait, dude steals $225k and only gets disbarred and a fine of $4500?  In most of our worlds that entails an extended stay in the clink with a much larger fine.  

wilme2
wilme2

Maybe Wright gets one of the quarter horses...

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

What about Wright's money?

Really7426
Really7426

@mjhindman you may want to add that your client was paid!

Really7426
Really7426

@ScottsMerkin not theft when it was paid. Do the research, there are documents filed with the court stating that this person was paid

James080
James080 topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin The State Bar doesn't have the legal authority to award damages to Corea's victims. Only civil courts have that legal authority. The State Bar does have the authority to disbar Corea and to fine him. The fines usually relate to the expenses incurred by the Bar during the investigation of the complaint and for hearings. Last month, eight lawyers were disbarred, one resigned to avoid being disbarred, and another ten lawyers were suspended from the practice of law for periods between eighteen months and four years.

Really7426
Really7426

@Montemalone they were paid. The paperwork stating they were paid is filed in Dallas county

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @James080 My question becomes, if he failed to pass on the judgement as the bar ruled, isnt this theft?  And if its theft shouldnt he be prosecuted to the fullest? If I walk into Mr Correa's house and jack $225k from his house, I get arrested for theft.  

James080
James080 topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin Scott, I just re-checked something. The State Bar can order a disbarred attorney to make restitution to his victim. I don't know if the order has the force of a court judgment. Even if it doesn't, it would seem to me that an order from the State Bar for restitution could fairly easily be introduced in a civil suit for damages.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul So he gives up a third of his award to one criminal, then hires another one to sue the first one who'll probably want a third of the recovered amount,

Brazil.

mewkins
mewkins

I'd also say that there are attorneys out there that take pleasure in giving their time to help people who lack the means to afford legal representation. They also take pleasure in taking guys like Corea down.

James080
James080 topcommenter

 @scottindallas  @ScottsMerkin That is not true at all. There are law firms that specialize in suing other lawyers for malpractice. The State Bar disciplines, suspends or disbars dozens of lawyers each and every month. Lawyers are not like police and fire fighters, protecting their own bad apples at all costs. There is not brotherhood or fraternity of lawyers. Lawyers go after each other with impunity when the circumstances require. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @James080  @ScottsMerkin "criminal embezzlement"

 

It's theft, breach of fiduciary duty and should come with aggravated penalties and should be prosecuted and punished to a higher degree than a simple robbery. 

Anon
Anon

 @James080  @ScottsMerkin

 

He has been indicted for this and other charges already.  Four first degree felonies.

James080
James080 topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin I would term it criminal embezzlement and civil breach of fiduciary duty. Client funds are required to be kept in a separate trust account (called an IOLTA account because the state, by law, skims the interest earned on client funds to apply to indigent legal services), not the firm business account. A lawyer can only legally deposit in the business account  that portion of client trust funds that are for payment of services actually rendered. I would not be surprised to see Mr. Corea indicted.

mewkins
mewkins

 @scottindallas  @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  @Montemalone Would you consider having a website on the internet advertising "widely"? Google your favorite lawyer's name, or his firm's name, and see if they have a website. I'm guessing you meant running TV adds and using billboards and such.

 

 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @LegalBeagle  @Montemalone  @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul I like lawyers, but most a total fucking cowards, as was your truly modest proposal.  Fuck these criminals.  For you to be so gentle really only stains yourself (as a lawyer)  You should be indignant, and want to see these charlatans crucified.  Have some self respect, seriously.

LegalBeagle
LegalBeagle

 @Montemalone  @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul The state bar should require practice dues to fund attorney fees for people that have already gotten ripped off by attorneys. That would create a bigger crackdown on schleppos over anything seen previously.

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