Laguna Niguel, CA asked in Workers' Compensation for California

Q: Dismissed Attorney fee dispute held in trust account after an Approved C&R.


Recently an agreed upon C&R was approved by the Judge in my WC case. I had dismissed my WC attorney months ago and he filed an lien/fees at the time and now is requesting an exact amount from the settlement which is stated in the approved C&R and held in a trust account. I have a dispute for the lien. Judge order states the attorney fee amount will be held in a trust pending written agreement between parties and/or by court order. The C&R was negotiated by Pro per.

My question is:

Can I settle the matter with the dismissed attorney and if attorney agrees, simply to withdraw the lien and let the held attorney fee/amount to be released to me?

Or, the rules are different AFTER the C&R is approved by the Judge, and it actually needs a WRITTEN agreement between me and the attorney to be submitted to the Judge addressing the attorney fee amount with revealing the terms?

In other words, can the lien just be withdrawn or the rules are different after C&R is approved?


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1 Lawyer Answer
Ronald Mahurin
Ronald Mahurin
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Point Arena, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: By law the attorney is entitled to payment for services provided quantum merit. Absent fraud or incredibly bad representation I think you are stuck. You are living a fantasy if you think the attorney is going to dismiss the lien outright and have the money paid to you after working on your case. Further, the C&R provides for an attorney fee.

That said, if you can reach an agreement with your prior attorney, you will need to submit a written agreement to the court. Otherwise you will need to set the matter for a hearing on the merits and at the hearing inform the court why your attorney should not be paid. If your attorney does not appear and it can be shown the attorney had notice of the court date (proof of service of the DOR), then the court will award you the attorney fee. Alternatively you can wait for the court or your prior attorney to request a lien conference.

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