Bedford attorney disbarred over debt-collection issues

A longtime Bedford attorney who ran down debtors for companies -- but was sued for being slow in paying her own clients -- has been disbarred, the State Bar of Texas recently announced.

Joan Myers lost her law license in June 2009 and lost an appeal in July after the Danmar Credit Group complained about her conduct to the state bar.

Myers, who had been previously disciplined by the bar, filed an appeal last month with the Texas Supreme Court.

Among its findings, the bar says Myers:

Failed to keep her client informed about the status of its collections.

Received funds but failed to promptly notify Danmar.

Refused to provide the company with a full accounting of the funds.

Didn't keep the company's funds in a separate trust account.

In a brief phone interview, Myers said her disbarment is related to a federal lawsuit that she filed against Ford Motor Credit Co. She declined to elaborate.

In the lawsuit, Myers contends that Ford Credit attorneys cooperated with the bar association investigation of her conduct, violating a settlement agreement in a previous legal dispute.

Ford Credit said that dispute centered on allegations that Myers charged it more than $450,000 in court costs that she never incurred. After Ford Credit obtained a summary judgment in its favor, it reached a settlement with Myers that included terms of how it would handle a related grievance that the company had filed with the bar. The company said in legal filings that its agreement did not seek any restitution in the disciplinary proceeding nor any resolution by the bar, directly or indirectly.

Ford says in legal filings that the bar contacted its attorney and "requested Ford Credit provide an affidavit in an unrelated grievance matter ... against Myers."

"The state bar also subpoenaed the attorney who represented Ford Credit in the Myers lawsuit to testify in the grievance proceeding, with which she complied," according to a company court filing.

After her disbarment, Myers repudiated the settlement agreement and demanded $10 million from Ford Credit, according to the company's legal filing.

Myers was also sued Jan. 21 in state district court in Fort Worth by another former client, which accused her of owing it more than $100,000 that she collected on its behalf. The suit also says that Myers wrote a check to the company for $14,955 that was returned for insufficient funds.

Myers' law practice phone number has a recording that says the company is a debt collector. "I was always involved in debt collection as an attorney, and now I am involved as a private citizen," she said.

Myers was first licensed as an attorney in 1973. She was suspended by the bar in 2004 and 2007.

Records show that the March 2007 suspension resulted from failing to promptly notify the client when she received client funds. The January 2004 suspension resulted from communication violations and failure to respond to a grievance.

Both of her suspensions were for one year and were probated, meaning that she could continue to practice law.

Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126