Warren West’s pregnant wife died during an emergency delivery in Nevada in 2005. His daughter was born with severe brain damage.
Attorney Chris Gellner filed a malpractice lawsuit. Another attorney, Dave Haley, served as guardian ad litem for the child.
Here’s what they negotiated. A $238,000 settlement. But, only $30,000 was to go to the daughter.
You read that right. Only $30,000 was to go to the daughter.
About $80,000 was to go to Medicaid – to reimburse for expenses.
And the lawyer and guardian would divide about $128,000.
Seems excessive? The judge agreed and ordered attorney fees be reduced.
This case worked its way up to the Nevada Supreme Court. They agreed the lower court had the authority to change the distribution. The Court noted that Gellner had limited experience as a malpractice attorney and he made the case more complicated than necessary with his amended motions, dismissals, and time-barred complaints.
Nevada Supreme Court noted the lower court can decide to allocate up to $100,000 to the injured child.
If the judge had not taken any action, the attorneys would have split an amount four times the crumbs negotiated for the child.