$50K judgment issued in Carmel suspended attorney case

INDIANAPOLIS - A Hamilton County Superior Court judge has granted a $58,978.52 default judgment for a jailed man, Jeffrey Baber, who said he paid a Carmel defense attorney legal fees but she did little work on his case.

READ: Full judgment  (Mobile: http://bit.ly/1c9GPg4)

The Call 6 Investigators have previously reported Sarah Nagy was suspended by the Supreme Court in June 2012 for not paying her attorney registration fees, not complying with her continuing legal education, as well as disability.

Nagy suffers from lupus, an autoimmune disease. Some clients say Nagy took their money knowing she could not complete work on their cases.

According to the complaint filed by Baber's attorney, Baber hired Nagy for post-conviction relief.

Baber, a school teacher, was convicted in 2006 of molesting a student, "largely on the uncorroborated testimony of the student," read the complaint.

In 2008, Baber also pleaded guilty to molestation in a second case, and is currently serving time at the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, Ind.

According to the complaint , the only time Nagy met with Baber was on Oct. 6, 2009.

READ: Baber's complaint  (Mobile: http://bit.ly/1c9H4I2)

"Her appearance and motion to continue the hearings were the only filings she made in the trial court," read the complaint. "No other proceedings were held and the only other action taken by the trial court was to grant the state public defender's withdrawal and to mail Jeff a copy of his chronological case summary in July 2011."

The complaint alleges Nagy never filed a petition for post-conviction relief in Baber's second child molestation case.

Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney contacted Baber's attorney, Brent Westerfeld, to ask how confident he is they will be able to collect $58,978.52 from Nagy.

"I can't speak to that," Westerfeld said.

Via email Monday, Nagy told Kenney she disagreed with the default judgment.

READ: Nagy's full statement  (Mobile: http://bit.ly/1c9IdPO)

"It is my intention to ask the court to reconsider," Nagy said. "Members of my parish community are exploring legal service organizations for me to contact."

Nagy said she submitted to the court an itemized statement of time spent working on Baber's case, an attorney engagement agreement and other exhibits.

"The time spent working on the case exceeded the flat fee paid for the two child molest cases," Nagy wrote in an email to RTV6. "I also explained that this client was offered a highly experienced surrogate replacement attorney when I became ill and he declined. I also told the court that I had in fact met with the client's mother on more than one occasion between March and November 2011 to apprise her of my health situation and the surrogate replacement counsel."

Nagy said she also told the court about her illness.

"I explained to the court that I had requested counsel because my physical health prevents me from adequately responding to legal issues at this time," Nagy wrote in an email to RTV6. "The court was advised that I have active lupus which creates many physical complications making it impossible for me to adequately respond legally to this matter."

Baber is one of several clients RTV6 spoke with who said they paid Nagy money, but their cases are still unresolved years later.

The Indiana State Bar Association Clients Financial Assistance has allocated $50,000 to 19 of Nagy's clients, which is the maximum amount allowed per single attorney.

Nagy, the former executive director of the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission, cannot practice law in the state, but in the future, Nagy can apply for reinstatement.

Sarah Nagy is not facing any criminal charges.

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