• June 25, 2014




Update (June 25, 2014): I am not very surprised that this unsavory chapter was quietly dismissed earlier this month with the defendants’ motion for summary judgment pending (but not before some undoubtedly unsettling brou-haha about the plaintiff’s counsel’s temporary unauthorized practice of law due to her apparent failure to pay fees on time).

Original post (May 21, 2014): Perhaps some day we will auction off injured victims’ tort claims on eBay (“Torts’R’Us”?).

Injured Person would post certified medical records, accident reports, and so on and plaintiffs’ lawyers, insurance companies, and tortfeasors would bid on the injured person’s asset, the right to bring her lawsuit(s). (We can easily imagine the bidders’ questions: “Can you elaborate on the level of pain you had to endure?” “Can you post a picture of the scar from another angle?” “Do you have poignant video recordings showing you enjoying activities that you can never do again?”). At Torts’R’Us, victims might make recoveries and might maximize the dollar value much faster than our current system.

This imagined world might be very far off (and is probably repulsive and repugnant to many). But the fact is that tort lawyers do traffic in pain and suffering. That is simply the nature of their businesses. And it is sometimes ugly.

Janet Jenner & Suggs (JJ&S) is a law firm based in Maryland that boasts offices in Maryland, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Minnesota and West Virginia.

The law firm of Los Angeles, California law firm of Khorrami Pollard & Abir, LLP (KP&A) needed to file 53 “hormone replacement cases” in Minnesota (because, by doing so, their clients would benefit from the state’s relatively generous six-year statute of limitation).

Apparently JJ&S agreed to KP&A help out, providing a licensed Minnesota lawyer to file the complaints, for 5% of any recovery.

The problem, however, is that we frown on tort victims being treated as some kind of negotiable instruments.

I think the tough question in this mess is, if JJ&S is barred from recovering 5% of plaintiffs’ recoveries, what should JJ&S recover? What is the value for the services performed?

[Aside: Maryland attorney Robert K. Jenner is described in his own law firm’s brief as “serving as local counsel for several law firms in Minnesota.” How can a Maryland lawyer serve as local counsel in Maryland?]

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