Attorneys Pick a Bone With Parents Group
FORT WORTH (CN) - Two Texas attorneys want to know who accused them of colluding with a judge to take "unearned attorney fees and child support" from a mother.
Attorneys Lori Deangelis and Laurie Robinson, both of Arlington, filed a petition for presuit depositions in Tarrant County Court on Tuesday.
They seek information from six members of the Parent Protective Coalition (PPC), a family court watchdog group.
The attorneys say they are "victims of slander and/or libel" published on the group's website and Facebook page. They say the statements were posted with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard" for the truth.
On July 26 the PPC posted on Facebook that "one attorney representing children partnered with a district judge to take unearned attorney fees and child support from the mother of the children who out-cried inappropriate conduct by their father," the petition states. This was posted on the PPC Facebook page at 9:53 a.m. that day, the attorneys say.
That post did not appear on the Facebook page of the Protective Parents Coalition on Wednesday.
The attorneys claim that the 9:53 a.m. July 26 post stated that the unidentified female attorney's "primary motivation is attorney fees collected in each case."
The attorneys want to know "The names of each and every PPC member, officer, and/or director that requested the posting of the banner bearing the photographs of each of the petitioners that described the petitioners as 'three of the most family court appointed Fort Worth attorneys." They say this post was published on the PPC Facebook page on July 26 at 8:43 a.m.
They want to know the identity of the post's author, and any evidence he or she has that supports accusations of scheming with a judge.
The 9:53 a.m. post also stated that "one attorney appeared drunk at the doorstep of a father's home demanding to see the children she was court appointed to represent. She did not leave until police were called," according to the attorneys' petition.
The 9:53 a.m. post also said that one of the petitioners "had the power to have her paralegal direct a Tarrant County caseworker to select and destroy records collected in a social study" and that one of the petitioners "regularly advises one of the parties to fire their current attorney and to hire one of her friends" while acting as a court-appointed attorney, according to the petition.
That post also said that other "attorneys consistently file motions to remove her as a court appointment due to misconduct and yet the judges keep appointing her," according to the petition.
The Protective Parents Coalition did not immediately respond to an e-mail message requesting comment Wednesday morning.
Formed in 2012 by several parents, the group says it "is dedicated to providing an impartial assessment of the effectiveness of family courts in dealing with custody, visitation, support and property issues." The founders "decided to educate the public" about "unethical child custody evaluators" after seeing "unusual" family court rulings, according to its website.
The attorneys want to take depositions from six members of PPC, and want them to produce the requested documents.
They are represented by Jim R. Ross in Arlington.