Legal Ethics

Attorney O'Quinn's Estate OKs $46M Settlement With Former Clients

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If John O’Quinn had been around to defend himself, it’s possible that attorney Terry Scarborough would still be fighting for a settlement on behalf of almost 3,500 clients of the famed trial lawyer.

But after O’Quinn’s death in an auto accident in October his estate has agreed to pay $46.5 million to settle a case that Scarborough has been pursuing for a decade, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

At issue in the litigation is whether O’Quinn’s law firm had a right to deduct a standard amount from clients’ settlements for their share of expert costs and studies that benefited their underlying tort case (for at least many of the plaintiffs, it was a claim over breast implants). Scarborough says the deduction wasn’t permitted because it isn’t provided for in Quinn’s representation agreement. An arbitration panel agreed, according to the newspaper.

Quinn had appealed the arbitration award, but the settlement will now end the case, assuming that it is accepted by the arbitration panel and the trial court.

“I uncovered what I think is a massive breach of fiduciary duty,” Scarborough tells the American-Statesman. “This isn’t malpractice. These women were expertly served by O’Quinn. He got more money for them than any lawyer anywhere. But he charged expenses that were not allowed.”

The article doesn’t include any comment from Quinn’s firm.

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