June 20, 2008
Lawyer Liable For Failure To Honor Assignment
The Wyoming Supreme Court has held that an attorney who is aware of an agreement to pay the client's medical bills from the proceeds of litigation is obligated to the medical provider if the medical bills are not paid from settlement proceeds. The court concludes:
Mr. Jackman [the client] clearly assigned his interest in the proceeds of his personal injury action to GemCity [the medical provider] for payment of his medical bills. As obligor, Mr. Winship [the lawyer] was required to honor that assignment. It is irrelevant that he had not entered into a direct contract with GemCity. Under the well-settled law of assignments, an obligor who has notice of an assignment and fails to honor it is responsible to the assignee. The district court, therefore, properly held Mr. Winship was responsible to GemCity for Mr. Jackman’s medical bills.
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