Lawyer wins $2.5 million from his client in a rare lawsuit

By Hai Duyen   May 6, 2016 | 11:09 pm PT
Lawyer wins $2.5 million from his client in a rare lawsuit
The house that the lawyer helped Khanh to take back. Photo by Hai Duyen
A lawyer in HCM City yesterday won a controversial lawsuit against his client who refused to pay him the agreed legal fees once they lawyer had won back a house worth $7 million.

Vuong Thi Khanh and her husband Nguyen Duc Kha owned a big house on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 3, HCM City. They left Vietnam and settled abroad in 1982. 17 years later, in 1999, the city government established state ownership of the house as it was identified to be owned by no one and then the city leased the house to a bank.

In 2004, Nguyen Duc Kha, passed away, leaving in his will all his possessions to nine of his children. Vuong Thi Khanh and her son Nguyen Dac Quang then came back to Vietnam to claim the house from the city. They had since pursued the case for three years but failed.

In 2007, Vuong Thi Khanh hired lawyer Dang Dinh Thinh to take back the house, promising to give him 15 percent of the total value of the property. In 2008, Khanh raised the award to 35 percent.


Dang Dinh Thinh, the lawyer. Photo by Hai Duyen

In 2011, after pursuing the case for five years, the lawyer won and helped Khanh to take back the house. However, she refused to give the lawyer the award as promised, saying that the contract was invalid.

She claimed that the lawyer was not eligible to receive 35 percent of the total value of the property as it was inherited by 10 different people, including her and nine of her children. As the contract was signed between her and the lawyer, Khanh argued that the award only amounted to 35 percent of her share of the property. 

In 2010, before the city gave back the ownership of the house to Vuong Thi Khanh, Nguyen Dac Quang, the son, had made several purchasing and leasing contracts with three different parties. Quang sold the house to Vu Huy Hoang for more than VND200 billion ($9 million). One year later, in 2011, he leased the property to a bank and the following day, he sold it to Dang Thu Ha for VND250 billion ($11 million).

In 2015, the lawyer took Vu Thi Khanh to court.

The HCM City Supreme People’s Court concluded yesterdaythat Vu Thi Khanh must pay the lawyer $2.5 million, equivalent to 35 percent of the property's value, estimated by the court at VND156 billion ($7 million). Additionally, Khanh and Quang have to return all the deposits they had received from the two buyers and the leasing contract with the bank was pronounced invalid. 

“I am glad that my five year effort to help the defendant take back the house finally paid off. However, I think the valuation is much lower than the actual value of the property,” the lawyer said.

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