The fees a plaintiff’s attorney will receive are generally 33% if the case settles and 40% if the case goes to trial. The fee is received if there is a recovery, not received if there is not. The fee is contingent upon recovery, hence the term contingency fee. Contingency fees are the norm in most areas of injury law, though not all. Contingency fees would be seen in virtually all medical malpractice cases.
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently resolved a case involving a contingency fee dispute. The case was between The Law Offices of Peter G Angelos and Albert Brault and William Gately, both formerly associated with the firm. The case history and facts are beautifully outlined by Kristi Tousignant at the Daily Record here.
Here are the facts relevant for my commentary:
- The plaintiff team won at original trial, but then lost on appeal
- Brault and Gately departed Angelos’s firm after this
- Brault and Gately then entered into new agreement with clients under same terms, just excluding Angelos’s firm
- Case settles
- Angelos’s firm sues, saying it’s entitled to its share of the fee
- Brault and Gately say, “No thanks. You had nothing to do with the win. We settled the case. It’s our fee.”
The Court of Special Appeals said that Angelos’s firm was entitled to quantum meruit, meaning they should be paid the reasonable value for their services. Also addressed was the fee splitting issue. Read Tousignant’s article for more.
It’s been stated the settlement agreement from the underlying medical malpractice case was confidential. However, according to court records, the judgement in the fee dispute case was paid. There was just over $20,000 paid for expenses. (It’s amazing how much expert witness fees have inflated over the last five years.) $780,000 was also paid, presumably for the fee.
It would certainly be my assumption, based on what I’ve read, $780,000 represents 65% of the overall fee. That means the fee equals $1.2MM. My guess is it was settled on a 33% contingency fee. That means a final settlement of $3.6MM. That seems about reasonable, if not slightly high, when the first trial resulted in a $5MM verdict. Please note, this is simply my speculation.
My favoriate part of this story… the defendant is Mark Midei and MidAtlantic Cardiovascular. Allegedly putting in unnecessary stents is, still allegedly, not the only thing he does wrong.
Also, for our listed lawyers, you might be missing how this makes InjuryLawyerDatabase an asset. Let me explain. Mark Midei was sued in the underlying action discussed above in 2008. Therefore, had our site been around in 2008, we would have had a Midei page in 2008. Therefore, in 2010, when people starting searching for Midei or Midei lawsuits or any number of other related searches, we would appear first, directing visitors to attorneys handling the Midei stent cases.