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California Workers’ Comp.; Attorney’s Fee question.

Anaheim, CA |

I had 2 Attorneys; one quit when the case was at $28,000.00; the second Attorney quit when the case was at $50,000.00. After 5 years in pro per the claim is over at $110,000.00. They each have a lien in but will not tell me how much they want to be paid; my Judge is going to make a ruling; but I would like to know what they are owed. I have no issue with paying them; how much are they due?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

If an attorney quits a fee contingency case, absent good cause (i.e. client lied during discovery, threatened atty with harm, etc.), then the attorney forfeits fees and fee lien. At best, atty #1 would get some sort of lien based on the $28,000.00 offer and atty #2 would get a fee on the difference between $28k and $50k ($22k). Nobody will get a fee based on what you accomplished over $50k. Even so, a Judge may look at what the attorney did and why they quit to justify some sort of fees. If you have no issue with paying them something, simply call them up and negotiate. Get the final agreement in writing and present to the court - that way, none of your money will be held up. Good luck.

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I would let the WCJ decide. Both of them quit, so I think their fees should take that into account. I asked to be relieved in a case and WCJ recommended I get 10% but client said he wanted to pay less and I agreed to accept a lower amount (alternative was a trial). In my case client was paranoid schizophrenic and I could not reason with him.
Anyway, I would leave it to the judge.


This is a fact specific inquiry and no attorney is going to be able to answer because the figure will vary from one judge to the next. As I understand your question one attorney “quit” then the second attorney “quit.” You handled the case on your own 5 years and got double what was offered at the point the second attorney quit. Given these facts, if the attorney fee issue goes to trial, I would argue the first two attorneys are not due anything. The problem is the defense will reserve 15% of the $110K until the attorney fee issue is resolved. I think it would be advisable to offer the attorneys something to resolve their lien simply because you never know how the judge will rule.


Let the WCJ resolve it