Andrew L. Quiat (“Andy”)

How Much Will It Cost To Recover a Judgement And Over What Period Of Time?


Like a good lawyer, I will give you an imprecise answer because the facts will dictate how much time and how much money to recover the money to which you are entitled. Time in a complex case involving a million dollars or more with a complex asset hiding structure will oftentimes take a year to 3 years as a general range. Sometimes it’s quick and easy and certain, sometimes it’s longer. It depends on the pain threshold of your adversary and how long and hard your adversary wants to fight. The cost will vary. I tell people on any significant asset chase that if it’s going to go the distance, if we’ve got someone that loves the concept of sado-masochism and wants to be tortured, I tell someone to get that debtor’s attention and to get that debtor to the table, you could easily end up spending $100,000 to $300,000. How you pay for this is a different question. I can charge hourly, I can charge on a modified contingency with a reduced hourly and a reduced percentage and very rarely I will take a case on complete contingency.

These vary by what we know, what you know and how we assess a case together. Oftentimes, I will start hourly and I will tell someone that it takes $25,000 to get an initial handle on what’s there and a plan of attack. If we end up at any point along the way, feeling together that we’ve identified a pool of assets that we can reach and we can convert into money for your benefit and we are both 95% or 98% certain that it’s what we have and it’s what we can do, oftentimes at that time clients will say I just can’t keep on paying you hourly; sometimes a client will say that this has really turned into almost a partnership. I’m still interested in watching my cash flow, let’s do a modified arrangement of some kind. We have a variety of mechanisms to deal with this. I try to be, within bounds, as flexible as I can be to meet the needs of my clients, but I also have to look at the economic reality and the cost of running my practice and paying my staff and all that stuff.

I hope that answers your question. If you have specifics beyond that which deal with your situation. Let me know, I’m more than pleased to discuss it with you.

How Do I Pay My Attorney For Recovering My Judgement?

We have various options as to how you can pay us for recovering your judgement. I, of course, am always pleased to work on a straight hourly basis plus you pay our out of pocket costs and there are costs for things like depositions or travel sometimes. Outside investigators, if your case justifies their use, and the expense is agreed to by you, generally charge hourly fees. Oftentimes a client does not want to pay just hourly and I’m happy to discuss that. I will reduce my hourly significantly in return for also participating in a percentage of the recovery with you. I will consider that. Once I have a reasonable level of comfort that there is something there to recover both in terms of liability and hard assets. I don’t need absolute certainty but I need a reasonable comfort level.

When you are walking in to me with your problem, you know your problem and you know about it better than anyone else. I don’t know a thing about your problem when you first come to me, and I don’t want to unwittingly, forgive me, no disrespect intended, I don’t want to let your problem become my problem. When that happens I lose my objectivity and I don’t function as well on your behalf. So I’m happy to assess the indicators or indicia of a fraudulent conveyance to know if I can affix liability there and I’m happy to participate oftentimes in that risk of proving that to a court because this is my area of knowledge and experience and proving a fraudulent conveyance is oftentimes, a matter of judgement. Is it fraudulent or is it not? There are 9 to 11 tests of what is or is not a fraudulent conveyance and you must persuade the fact finder who is the judge usually that it is a fraudulent conveyance and sometimes under the law, the presence of just one of these indicators, what we call badges of fraud, is enough to taint a transaction to let us reach the asset or reach another person on whom we can assert the liability as a transferee of an asset that was inappropriately conveyed.

Other times, you can have 7 or 8 of these badges of fraud present and you’ll have a serious question of was it really fraudulent or not? A court may have that question. I have a good amount of experience in assessing whether or not a set of circumstances present a fraudulent conveyance. I’m happy to participate in that risk assessment and risk determination when I do. I’ve even had other lawyers say “Quiat, you could be in a dark alley at midnight and you could smell a fraudulent conveyance 150 yards off in front of you”. Perhaps that’s so, perhaps that’s not; I do develop a sense of whether a set of circumstances present a fraudulent conveyance or not. On rare occasions I will take a case on a complete contingency but that is very rare. If you’d like an answer to your question that has more specificity to your circumstances, please call me. Let’s talk. Thank you.

What Terms Can You Offer For Recovering My Judgement?

I have a variety of arrangements that I would be more than pleased to discuss with you. I can work with you on a straight hourly basis where you can put up and replenish a retainer on a monthly basis which would be billed for out of pocket costs to 3rd party vendors and for our hourly fees. I can do a modified arrangement where I can reduce significantly my hourly fees and take a slight percentage of what we recover. That percentage will vary depending on the specific nature of your case and the circumstances it presents. Generally that percentage would be 5% to 25% plus a reduced hourly and there is a relationship between how much we reduce the hourly fee to what the percentage is. On rare occasions I will take a case on purely contingency and when I do it is in the range of 40% to 50% unless it’s an extraordinarily large judgement like in the 10 million dollar range or above, I’ll reduce the percentage significantly but it depends upon the risk and analysis of the situation.

Can You Discreetly Recover Me Money Without Causing Me Embarrassment At The Club? Is it Feasible To Do This?

You’d be surprised how often I get this question. The answer is yes and yes, within reasonable bounds. So often someone like you is appalled at the fact that they have been ripped off or taken advantage of. You think you are better than that, not in the sense of being above it but you think that you are more cautious and careful in your circumstances and in your dealings and in your judgement of character but when you are ripped off in a fraudulent transaction, typically the person who did it is very skillful and has studied you and people like you and makes a business of preying upon people with assets. They are all obviously very likeable and they know how to engender, endear, and gain your trust, be it through dealings at a club, be it a church or a civic organization or through a trade group or some political activism.

It can come through any facet of life. So there are techniques we use to insulate you once you understand that you have been ripped off and you’ve gone far enough to secure a judgement, if at that point you want privacy. Oftentimes we can assign the judgement to a specific purpose entity that houses nothing else than this judgement and we can, at varying levels of depth, insulate the ownership depending on the structure we use. Who owns an entity has differing levels of disclosure in differing forms by which I mean different secretaries of state or different courts. That’s the short answer to your question but you are certainly not alone in being a little concerned.

Sometimes people won’t mind getting their judgement but they are concerned with some of their social colleagues seeing them as being too litigious. Other times, I’ve had clients who say “the fellow ripped us off for a few million dollars and he picked the wrong people and I don’t care who knows about it because we are going to get our recovery and put that SOB in jail”. I get clients like that too. So I try to be flexible in meeting the needs of our clients.

For more information on Cost In Recovering A Judgement, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 471-8560 today.

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