Reprinted from the September 16, 2014 Mongoose newsletter. I finally received the pay vouchers for just three months of billing by Gary Polland
I am paying to have these vouchers analyzed (as I did with Alicia Franklin), but here is one startling finding I quickly made by looking through these vouchers: Gary Polland billed Harris County for four home visits totaling 19 hours on one single day and the gullible or complicit judges approved his vouchers and the county apparently paid him. In CPS cases, the law requires the attorney ad litem appointed to represent the child to personally visit the child at home before each court appearance. Polland, who almost always bills exactly 5.0 hours for “travel to and conduct home visit; draft report with pictures” billed the following for one day, August 10, 2013:
- Case No. 2013-04442J, 313th Juvenile District Court – 5.0 hours for a home visit (invoice submitted 8/15/13)(note the duplicate, “corrected” invoice also submitted).
- Case No. 2009-21265 – 311th Family District Court – 5.0 hours for home visit (invoice submitted 8/14/13)
- Case No. 2011-06808J – 315th Juvenile District Court – 4.0 hours for a home visit (invoice submitted 9/6/13)
- Case No. 2011-58664 – 308th Family District Court – 5.0 hours for home visit (invoice submitted 8/29/13).
Please Click here to see these invoices, which clearly make it look like Polland did all of this work and which certainly do not mention any associate or social worker conducting these home visits. It is clearly not possible for one attorney to conduct four or five home visits or to honestly bill 19 hours in one day. Did Polland visit a child at home at 3:00 a.m.?
It is also very odd that Polland almost always bills exactly 5.0 hours for these home visits, regardless of where the child lives. I have now seen hundreds of CPS pay vouchers, and most attorneys bill from 2.0 to 3.5 hours for home visits and the number of hours they claim always varies because, of course, the time they spend in travel and visiting the child varies every time.
In future issues, I will explore whether Polland is billing for home visits that he is not conducting himself. Almost everyone involved in CPS cases in Texas (outside of about five courts in Harris County) firmly believe that the law requires the specific person appointed ad litem to visit the child at home. It is not proper or legal to send a substitute attorney or a non-lawyer to conduct the home visit and it certainly is not right for the appointed attorney to bill the county as if he had done the work.