April 23, 2008
Ibarras must settle for their settlement

Last week, the Ibarra brothers sought a hearing to withdraw their settlement agreement with Harris County and take their case to trial, on the grounds that the county violated that agreement by paying the legal fees for two attorneys who had been sanctioned by the judge in the case to pursue an appeal of their punishment. Yesterday, the judge denied their request.

Sean Carlos Ibarra, 37, and Erik Adam Ibarra, 28, sought to return a $1.7 million payment they received from Harris County earlier this month settling their case because they wanted to go back to trial.

Their attorney, Lloyd Kelley, made the request because he said Harris County breached the settlement agreement by appealing sanctions levied against two assistant county attorneys who previously worked on the case.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt had sanctioned the two attorneys, Frank Sanders and Mary Baker, for improperly obtaining and making public Sean Ibarra's medical records during the discovery phase of the case. Sanders' and Baker's attorneys recently asked a higher court to review the matter.

Kelley had also requested an emergency hearing because he alleged Harris County is improperly using public money to pay for Sanders' and Baker's "private appeals."

Hoyt, however, rejected those requests Monday, signaling an end to the Ibarras' civil case.

In his ruling, Hoyt declined to rescind the settlement agreement and refused to reinstate the Ibarras' civil case on his trial docket.

He also declined to find Harris County in contempt or to levy further sanctions in the case.

The judge's decision means the Ibarras will keep the $1.7 million already paid into their lawyer's trust fund on their behalf.

So that's pretty much it for this case, other than the matter of Lloyd Kelley's fee request, which is still under dispute. There was a small story in yesterday's print section about how the money Chuck Rosenthal paid in fines for being found in contempt of court went into Kelley's pocket, but for some reason it doesn't seem to have ever appeared online. Weird. Anyway, barring anything strange, the fee stuff is the only unresolved issue left, and I figure that'll be dealt with soon.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 23, 2008 to Local politics
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