When the Relationship Goes Bad--the Western Section Weighs in on a Dispute Between Lawyer and Client in Tort Case

HOLLY CASTLE, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF EMILY CASTLE, A MINOR CHILD; AND JANA CLARK v. DAVID DORRIS LOGGING, INC., ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Sadler Bailey, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Holly Castle and Jana Clark.

Martin Zummach, Southhaven, Mississippi, for the appellee, Horne & Wells, PLLC.

Judge: STAFFORD

This case involves a post-trial dispute between one party to a personal injury case and their former counsel. After a jury verdict was entered in favor of Appellants, their former law firm filed an attorney lien and a motion to recover its attorney fees in the trial court. Appellants asserted that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider the former firm’s motion. The trial court disagreed and awarded the former firm its full requested fee. Appellants appeal both the award of attorney fees to its former law firm, and also the trial court’s denial of Appellants’ request to release funds held by the clerk. We conclude that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider the post-trial dispute and reverse the award of attorneys fees in this case. However, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion to release funds. Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

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