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How much to appeal a civil court decision when my attorney was incompetent?

This legal question related to appellate practice attorneys in Oklahoma has been answered.

Location: Oklahoma  |  Law type: appellate practice attorneys

I basically had a contract for deed for some property to be paid off within 2 years. The seller apparently wanted rent and payment for the property. Between the seller refusing rent payments and unable to contact them, due to them not giving me a phone number, I became 90 days past due. When I tried to pay all the back due, payment was refused. My family and I was harassed by the seller to leave the property. When they finally sued in small claims court for eviction, Judge Woolery deemed it a contract for deed and told us both to get a lawyer and to foreclose. I filed for ch.13 bankruptcy to pay for the property and the bankruptcy judge said it needed to go to trial to clarify the contract for deed. All of this happened before the due date on the property note. Ended up going to court where the attorney I had hired did not enter any of the evidence that we had into court evidence and cost us the trial and so called back rent, although I have a signed letter with my mortgage company that I was not being charged rent by the seller. Signed after our contract for deed. The trial was last week and the order has not been filed as of yet. I was given 30 days to move and back rent on the property in the judgement against me. I am a poor man with six kids and desperately need help. My email is 

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Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to appellate practice attorneys in the jurisdiction of Oklahoma. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Analyzing Contract for Deed Dispute in Oklahoma

Contract for Deed Issues

From your account, it seems that you entered into a contract for deed agreement to purchase a property. However, confusion arose regarding rent payments, leading to alleged delinquencies and an eventual eviction process. To make matters complex, an initial bankruptcy attempt to salvage the situation led to a need for a trial to clarify the contract terms. Unfortunately, an alleged lack of competency from your attorney has put you in a challenging position.

Relevant Statutes and Resources:

  • Oklahoma Statutes on Real Estate Contracts: Title 15 of the Oklahoma Statutes outlines contracts in general and may include provisions related to real estate contracts.
  • Oklahoma Eviction Laws: Information about eviction proceedings can be found under Title 41 of the Oklahoma Statutes, which deals with Landlord and Tenant laws.
  • Oklahoma State Courts Network: OSCN is the main resource where you can access state statutes and other legal resources.

Possible Solutions and Next Steps

  1. Appeal the Decision: Given the circumstances and the perceived incompetence of your attorney during the trial, you might consider filing an appeal. You'd need to establish grounds for the appeal, such as attorney misconduct or errors in the court's decision.
  2. Seek a New Attorney: If you believe that your previous attorney was not competent, it's imperative to find the right lawyer who specializes in appellate practice to assist you.
  3. Negotiate with the Seller: Outside the court, consider negotiating with the seller for a resolution. This might involve paying the past due amount, establishing a new payment plan, or finding other terms to satisfy both parties.
  4. Mediation or Arbitration: If direct negotiation fails, consider seeking the services of arbitration and mediation attorneys to find a neutral resolution.

Costs of Appellate Practice in Oklahoma

Service Average Cost
Initial Consultation $250 - $500
Research & Case Preparation $1,500 - $5,000
Filing of Appeal $750 - $1,500
Oral Arguments $2,000 - $6,000
Mediation Services $1,000 - $4,000

Note: Costs vary based on the complexity of the case and the attorney's experience. Oklahoma might also have court fees or other associated costs not listed here.

Further Clarification and Action

Given the gravity of your situation and its potential impact on your family, it's essential to take immediate and informed action. I strongly encourage you to compare lawyers in your area and seek professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

Relevant Questions to Consider

  • Was there a written contract, and what were its specific terms regarding payment, rent, and default consequences?
  • Were there any written communications between you and the seller that might support your claim?
  • What specific evidence was overlooked or not presented by your attorney during the trial?
  • Are there any other witnesses or parties involved who can attest to the agreement's terms or your subsequent interactions with the seller?
  • Have you ever made a written or formal complaint against your attorney for their representation?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if my attorney was truly incompetent?

A legal malpractice or negligence claim can arise if an attorney fails to use the ordinary skill and knowledge commonly possessed by members of the legal profession. Reviewing the case with another attorney can help establish this.

Can I seek damages or rectification if my attorney was at fault?

Yes, if you can prove that your attorney's incompetence directly led to financial harm, you may be entitled to damages or other remedies.

What is the timeframe to file an appeal in Oklahoma?

Typically, you have 30 days from the date of the final judgment to file an appeal in Oklahoma, but consult an attorney immediately to confirm and adhere to all deadlines.

How do costs for appellate practice differ from initial trial representation?

Appellate practice usually involves a deep review of trial records, legal research, and crafting arguments, which can sometimes make it more expensive than initial trial representation.

If I can't afford an attorney, what are my options?

You might explore legal aid societies in Oklahoma or look for attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win.

Remember, while this provides a general overview, each legal case is unique. Always consult directly with a professional to ensure the best possible outcome.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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