Lawyers in California and elsewhere have the right to make an income. They provide an invaluable service to clients, especially those who seek to defend themselves against accusations or who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. However, clients are also protected against unprofessional or illegal treatment by unscrupulous attorneys. In some cases, legal malpractice involves law firms that have charged clients excessive or illegal fees.
The New Jersey Law Journal has reported on a recent case, in which numerous New Jersey and Texas law firms were accused of charging excessive fees in medical malpractice cases involving transvaginal mesh surgical implants. In the class action legal malpractice lawsuit, the firms have been accused of using illegal retainer agreements in more than 1,400 instances regarding the transvaginal mesh lawsuits. New Jersey law caps product liability contingency fees at a maximum of 33 1/3%, with the limits largely depending on settlement values. However, one woman alleges she was charged a 40% contingency fee for her case. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that law firms that provided no legal services for the transvaginal mesh cases were paid, some firms provided legal services without having a retainer agreement and several firms had improperly deducted fees from the gross settlement value.
One of the accused firms has claimed that a former partner is unjustly retaliating for not getting a large enough share of the $500 million in fees resulting from the mesh lawsuits’ settlements and verdicts. The outcome of this significant case remains to be seen, but serves as an example of clients’ possible recourse for being charged excessive legal fees.