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WVCALA: Water Crisis Personal Injury Lawyers Request Millions In Fees, Average Person Will Get $525

Press release received from West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA) calls a request for nearly $45 million in personal injury lawyer fees for the January 2014 water crisis lawsuit and settlement an example of lawsuit greed and hopes the fee amount will be greatly reduced.

“This is a prime example of lawsuit greed. Dozens of personal injury lawyers will split $43 million, which means each one will pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars and some will receive million dollar checks. A family of four that files a claim will barely get $1,000. In their brief, the personal injury lawyers state the fee is more than most courts presume is reasonable,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

The request for $43 million in legal fees and $2.4 million in actual expenses are part of a settlement in the January 2014 water crisis. The public was made aware of the request late Monday evening when dozens of personal injury law firms submitted a motion for award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs to Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., the federal judge overseeing the water crisis settlement.

Stauffer continued, “A family of four that was affected for up to nine days without water will likely get just over $100 a day for their hardships. On the other hand, many of these personal injury lawyers will collect million dollars checks. This is in addition to the expenses that have been requested separately. Lawsuit greed knows no bounds. These personal injury lawyers are willing to cash million dollar checks, taking money from families that didn’t have water for up to nine days.”

According to settlement documents, households that choose the simple claim form will receive $525 for the first resident and $170 for each additional resident. Businesses, non-profit organizations and government entities that choose the simple form can receive between $6,250 and $40,000, depending on their size.

“We are hopeful that the fees awarded to these greedy personal injury lawyers will be reduced so more money will go to families and businesses that were affected by the water crisis. This money should not pay for new mansions, fancy airplanes, and flashy sports cars for a handful of greedy personal injury lawyers,” concluded Stauffer.