A LIMERICK solicitor was “left with no option’ but to seek an order for the sale of a client’s house in an attempt to recover over €18,000 in outstanding legal fees, Limerick Circuit Court has heard.
Foynes solicitor Bernard Cunnane was seeking the order in respect of property owned by Norma Collins, Templeathea, who he had represented in a family law case.
Donal O’Rourke BL, for Mr Cunnane, told Judge Gerald Keyes that when the bill of €18,229 was not paid, Mr Cunnane had - on January 29, 2014 - registered a judgement mortgage over two properties owned by Ms Collins, the first relating to a house, the second to 18 acres of agricultural land.
Mr Cunnane had subsequently issued well-charging proceedings which had come before Judge Tom O’Donnell on July 18 last.
“The defendant maintained there was not enough equity in the properties to satisfy the judgements due to a mortgage on the house and a charge on the land in favour of the defendant’s brother,” Mr O’Rourke told Judge Keyes.
But an auctioneer had put a value of €150,000 on the house and €112,500 on the land next to it meaning there was “plenty of equity” for Ms Collins to meet her obligations, the barrister added.
Judge O’Donnell had ordered the 18 acres to be sold but the defendant had then claimed “there was a problem with maps in that the house or part of it was on the maps of the folio ordered for sale”.
“We are now looking for the sale of both folios to allow us meet the judgement,” Mr O’Rourke said, adding Mr Cunnane had been “left with no option” in so doing.
Solicitor Maurice O’Sullivan, for Ms Collins, said it was clear from Judge O’Donnell’s earlier order that “he was satisfied there was enough equity in the field behind the house and his intention was not that Ms Collins should sell the house”.
Judge Keyes said he was prepared to amend the order if a new map could be drawn up “excluding the physical boundaries of the house” from any sale.
“The intention of the court is not that the house be sold and the maps can be corrected,” Judge Keyes said, giving the plaintiff liberty to re-enter.