Attorney David Grubb is understandably embarrassed by the continued public exposure of his attempt to reap 20 times in attorneys' fees what he was able to win for his "clients" in a minor lemon law lawsuit. Presumably, this is why he felt it necessary to try to justify his conduct with a lengthy rebuttal to a recent West Virginia Record article that lifted the rock on this outrageous example of trial lawyer buck-raking.
Despite Mr. Grubb's best efforts to defend the indefensible, the facts clearly show that this entire case was merely a pretext to allow Mr. Grubb to game the legal system for his own personal gain.
Fact: Mr. Grubb's clients owned the vehicle for nearly two and a half years and drove it for more than 50,000 miles before deciding it was a "lemon." Fact: Nevertheless, in the interests of customer satisfaction, DaimlerChrysler offered the owners a $10,500 settlement. Fact: Under Mr. Grubb's highly unusual retainer agreement, his clients could not accept a settlement unless they were prepared to pay Mr. Grubb's outrageously inflated legal fees out of their own pocket. In other words, Mr. Grubb gave himself the power to hold his own clients hostage so he could pursue a $160,000 payday. Fact: A jury awarded Mr. Grubb's clients just $8,750 – nearly $2,000 LESS than they would have received if they had accepted our settlement offer.
When the legal system serves the best interest of lawyers, not the interest of clients, something is broken. Mr. Grubb pronounces himself "proud" of his efforts to secure a windfall 20 times greater than his "clients" were awarded. Is there any better evidence that West Virginia's legal system is in desperate need of wholesale reform?
Steven B. Hantler
Assistant General Counsel
Auburn Hills, Mich.