Friday, August 25, 2017

No Discharge For Cause Where Commendable Efforts Were the Reason

The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed a circuit court's rejection of a law firm's claim of fee entitlement in  personal injury matter where the client (or his mother, who apparently did most of the interacting with the firm) had discharged counsel prior to completion of the matter.

The client had discharged counsel after expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of PIP payments. The circuit court found that the discharge was for cause and denied quantum meruit compensation.

The court here held that the PIP payments were properly handled, discharge was not for cause and the firm was entitled to payment for its efforts.

[The law firm's] spearheading [the clients] benefits disbursement was completely aboveboard. Indeed, the practice seems almost integral to fully servicing a motor-vehicle personal-injury client's needs - it should be commended and encouraged, not punished.

The court further stated that the result was not affected by the possibility that the PIP claim situation was not adequately communicated to the client.

Rather, ethics rules "guide" but do not "govern" the issue before it. (Mike Frisch)

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