NEW CUMBERLAND – One Weirton law firm is suing another over the distribution of attorney fees related to a 2012 civil case.
Christopher J. Wallace and The Wallace Firm PLLC filed its suit Feb. 20 in Hancock Circuit Court against Hinerman & Associates PLLC, which is owned by attorney Raymond A. Hinerman.
In his complaint, which he filed himself, Wallace says he formerly worked at Hinerman & Associates. He worked there when he started working on the civil action Lowry v. Travelers Property Casualty Co of America et al., which was case number 12-C-10R in Hancock Circuit Court.
According to Wallace’s complaint, Weirton attorney James Sellitti tried to resolve the Lowry case without filing a suit, but he was unsuccessful. He contacted Wallace to co-counsel the case and any workers’ compensation claims arising from it. Sellitti agreed to give Wallace a percentage of attorney fees.
“There was no agreement between Plaintiff Wallace and Defendant as to how any fees recovered in the Lowry case would be shared,” the complaint states.
Wallace claims he worked 39.5 hours on the case until Jan. 17, 2013, when he left his employment with Hinerman. As of that date, no settlement offer had been made.
Wallace says he continued to work on the case after he left Hinerman, and the Lowry case was resolved. Wallace says he was paid a fee of $110,500 for his work on the case. He also says he worked 102.8 hours on the case after he left Hinerman.
He claims no one else at Hinerman & Associates worked on the case, spoke to the client, prepared documents or participated in negotiations. He says $86.75 in costs related to the case has been repaid to Hinerman by Wallace, he says.
Wallace says he and Hinerman “were unable to agree on an equitable distribution of fees.”
He seeks an immediate hearing before Circuit Judge David J. Sims so that a “fair and equitable distribution of attorney fees can be reached.”
In the Lowry case, Wayne Lowry had his lower leg run over by a pickup truck in the parking lot of an Ohio Speedway convenience store while employed by Team Environmental LLC, a West Virginia business.
Hancock Circuit Court case number 14-C-29S