Our firm was successful in defending our client from a Philadelphia law firm that claimed a right to our client’s settlement. Our client was injured on June 21, 2016, while still a minor. The minor’s parents were legally separated. The minor’s father retained The Freibott Law Firm on June 21, 2016. Apparently, the mother, on behalf of the minor, retained an attorney from a Philadelphia law firm, Joseph Marrone. Our law firm sent an initial letter of representation to Nationwide Insurance Company, the at fault driver’s insurance company, on behalf of our client. Nationwide acknowledged our letter of representing soon thereafter and our firm began working the file on behalf of the minor client. On July 13, 2016, our firm made a demand for the policy limits of Nationwide’s bodily injury policy. Interestingly enough, on July 14, 2016, the mother sent a letter to our firm “terminating” Mr. Freibott from his representation of the daughter. Mr. Freibott, in return, sent a letter to the mother, advising her that she lacked legal standing to terminate his representation of the daughter as the father retained our office before she retained that of the Philadelphia lawyer.
On August 22, 2016, Nationwide tendered its policy limits to our office. Upon learning of the tender of Nationwide’s policy limits, the Philadelphia lawyer sent a letter to Nationwide advising that he was the attorney of record in the case and that the mother had terminated our representation. Throughout the next several months, our firm attempted to convince Nationwide that our firm was, in fact, the correct attorney of record. Nationwide advised both attorneys that, due to the conflict of information, it was not in a position to tender the previously offered policy limits.
Accordingly, we waited until our client turned 18 years of age, the legal age to enter into a contract and she chose the Freibott Law Firm as her attorney to further prosecute the case. Nationwide still would not tender the policy limits due to the conflict that had arisen in the case. We then filed a lawsuit against the party at fault and then immediately filed a Motion to Enforce the Settlement Agreement. Mr. Marrone argued that all he wanted was “his money.” Mr. Marrone alleged that he spent well over $8,000.00 in “investigation” fees and that he should be entitled to that amount of money from the settlement, in addition to his attorney fee. The Superior Court judge assigned to the case thought otherwise. The judge determined that Mr. Marrone was not the attorney of record in this matter and he could not produce any retainer agreement signed by the Plaintiff, the minor who was now of legal age, to support his position that he was her attorney. Accordingly, the Court found that the settlement agreement must be enforced between Nationwide and The Freibott Law Firm.
The Superior Court judge also found that, as Mr. Marrone could not offer any documentation to support his claims that he represented the Plaintiff in the matter, sufficient bad faith existed to warrant the awarding of attorney’s fees to our firm. Accordingly, the Judge signed an Order ordering Nationwide Insurance Company to tender its policy limits within five days of the date of the Judge’s Order. In addition, the Judge ordered that Mr. Marrone, and the mother of our client, pay our firm $450.00 related to the preparation and presentation of the Motion.