When the partnership seems advantageous, it’s a common sight to see two or more attorneys, like a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, NV from Eric Roy Law Firm, or law firms team up to take on a case together. Perhaps each one is more capable of acquiring crucial evidence or making an argument; or perhaps it could even result from a favor or genuine good will towards the other lawyer or law firm.
Usually with these partnerships are formed there are agreements made over the amount of pay one can receive from the case. Say for instance a 50/50 split or perhaps a 60/40 split if one can negotiate that one is more deserving because of their contributions; after all it’s only fair that one receive a little more if they contributed more to the overall effort.
One personal injury lawyer out of Kansas City, Missouri was a tad greedy and decided to pull the wool over his partner’s eyes; taking advantage of their trust and taking more pay than what was originally agreed. This resulted in a penalty of more than $427,000 against Stephen Holaday, which the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Western District ruled to have misled the partners at his former firm about how much insurance coverage was available on two pending cases.
The original agreement came from Holaday joining forces with Lee Tieman and John Spencer to create Tieman, Spencer, Holaday & Hicks in 2014. When they first teamed up they had agreed to evenly split the firm’s profits.
Eventually Holaday left the firm, but the men agreed to continue splitting contingency fees for 10 more cases.
In one of those cases, a man riding a motorcycle was injured when a drunk driver attempted an illegal U-turn resulting in an auto collision. The driver had a coverage limit of $250,000 and an umbrella policy with another $1 million. Holaday lied about the value of the case, telling Spencer that the liability insurance spending limit was only $50,000, causing Spencer to omit the case from the agreement. Another case had a high value from a $1,000,000 coverage limit and Holaday left out this case when asked if there were any other cases with fees higher than $75,000.
After netting high payouts while not properly compensating his partners for the cases, Holaday was eventually caught with the courts making their ruling to him to finally give his former partners the compensation they deserve.