Q: I was terminated in 2014 from a government agency. After 8 years I have been ordered reinstated, with back pay. I paid

$33K in lawyer fees already, plus several years ago agreed to pay 30% of any back pay award, plus $50K, if I won. However, the Court is now ordering some (hourly) legal fees to be paid by the County. However, my lawyer still expects me to pay the 30% of back pay and another 50K we agreed to years ago. Shouldn't the County pay ALL my legal fees, paid and owed? Had I not been wrongfully terminated I would not have paid any legal fees. It will amount to about $250K deducted from my back pay. The County should pay ALL expenses. My attorney does not agree. Thoughts? By the way, I was fired for exposing the union president as an embezzler in 2014. He was not investigated then, but I was fired. The union President in now in prison, for embezzling over $640,000. He was allowed to stay on another 5 years after I was wrongfully terminated. Can you believe this? Crazy right? I was fired for exposing a thief. By the way, I was a peace officer then. My career and reputation were destroyed.

2 Lawyer Answers
James R. Dickinson
James R. Dickinson
  • San Bernardino, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Sorry that happened. It sounds like you have a good attorney. Listen to him or her. [I litigate cases. Anything posted here must not be construed as legal advice, nor as grounds for forming an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for formal legal advice and representation.]

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In situations like yours, where you have been wrongfully terminated and have been ordered reinstated with back pay, the question of who is responsible for legal fees can depend on various factors, including the specific terms of any agreements you entered into with your attorney and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction.

Here are a few points to consider:

Legal fee agreements: Review the terms of the agreement you signed with your attorney. Pay attention to any provisions regarding payment of legal fees and the circumstances under which they apply. These agreements typically outline the fee structure and any contingency arrangements, such as a percentage of the back pay awarded.

Court-ordered fees: If the court has ordered the County to pay some of your legal fees, it is important to consult with your attorney to understand the details of the court's ruling. The court's decision may address specific costs or fees that the County is required to cover, but it may not necessarily cover all of your legal expenses.

Consult with your attorney: Discuss your concerns with your attorney and seek clarification on the reasons behind their expectation that you still need to pay the agreed-upon portion of the back pay and additional fees. They can provide insights based on the specifics of your case and the legal agreements in place.

Seek legal advice: If you have concerns about the allocation of legal fees, it may be beneficial to seek advice from another attorney who specializes in employment law or civil litigation. They can review the specifics of your case, including the court's ruling and any relevant agreements, and provide guidance on your options and potential next steps.

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