Submitted: March 7, 2018
Intervener Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.'s Intervener's
Motion to Enforce Intervener's Charging Lien for a
Portion of the Attorney Fees GRANTED in part and DENIED in
M. Davis, Judge.
this Court is the Intervener's Motion to Enforce
Intervener's Charging Lien for a Portion of the Attorney
Fees (the "Motion") filed by Intervener Ramunno
& Ramunno, P.A. ("Ramunno"). The Motion seeks
one half of the fees earned by the attorneys in this civil
action. The Court has reviewed all the parties'
submissions, held hearings on December 19, 2017 and February
28, 2018 (collectively, the "Hearing"), heard
argument and reviewed the record in this civil proceeding.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is
GRANTED in part and DENIED
filed a complaint (the "Complaint") to initiate
this civil action on March 9, 2015. On June 17, 2015,
Katherine L. Hemming, Esq., filed a substitution of counsel
(the "Substitution"). The Substitution withdrew L.
Vincent Ramunno, Esq., as Plaintiff Sarah Giles' counsel
and entered the appearance of Ms. Hemming and Lundy Law, LLP
("Lundy Law"), as counsel for Ms. Giles. Very
little activity of record occurred after June 17, 2015.
Eventually, Defendant Cynthia Boykin-Brown filed an answer
and, on May 6, 2016, the Court entered a Trial Scheduling
Order that set the trial date for August 7, 2017. On June 2,
2017, the parties settled their claims in this civil action.
12, 2016, Ramunno filed a motion to intervene. The Court
granted that motion on August 12, 2017. The Court made no
ruling on August 12, 2017 as to whether Ramunno had a valid
claim for its fees against Ms. Giles and to the attorney fees
portion of the proceed of the settlement.
then filed the Motion. On November 10, 2017, Ms. Giles filed
her Plaintiff's Response to Intervener's Motion to
Enforce Intervener's Charging Lien for a Portion of the
Attorney Fees (the "Response"). Ramunno then filed
its Intervener's Rebuttal in Support of Motion to Enforce
Charging Lien on November 17, 2017 (the
"Rebuttal"). The Court started the Hearing on
December 19, 2017 and heard the testimony of L. Vincent
Ramunno, Esq., and Lee Ramunno, Esq. The Court continued the
Hearing until February 28, 2018. On February 28, 2018, the
Court heard testimony from Ms. Giles, Lawrence Ramunno, Esq.
and Ms. Hemming. At the conclusion of the Hearing, the Court
allowed the parties to file any additional information
regarding the issues raised in the Motion by March 7, 2018.
On March 7, 2018, Ramunno filed a letter brief in further
support of the Motion.
September 2014, Ms. Giles retained Ramunno to represent her
in a personal injury claim against Ms. Boykin-Brown. The
accident occurred on August 29, 2014 (the "2014
Accident"). Ramunno represented Ms. Giles from September
2014 until March 9, 2015. During that time, Ramunno handled
all aspects of Ms. Giles' case.
filed the claim, conducted numerous meetings and
conversations with Ms. Giles, worked on Ms. Giles' PIP
claim, and attempted to settle the claims among other things.
Ramunno also negotiated and obtained recovery from the
property damage. Ms. Giles informed Ramunno that she needed
money and wanted to settle the case as soon as possible. On
February 24, 2015, Ramunno obtained medical records and made
a demand for policy limits. Ramunno contends it was in
constant contact with Ms. Giles.
March 4, 2015, Ms. Giles and her daughter
("Daughter") met with Ms. Hemming at Lundy Law to
discuss an accident that occurred on February 5, 2015
("2015 Accident"). During the meeting, Ms. Giles
informed Lundy Law of the 2014 Accident. Ms. Giles informed
Lundy Law that Ramunno represented Ms. Giles for the 2014
Accident. Ms. Giles testified that she was not happy with
Ramunno's representation for the 2014 Accident because
Ramunno did not keep her informed or return phone calls.
During this conversation, Ms. Giles expressed a desire for
Lundy Law to represent her for both accidents.
March 9, 2015, Ms. Giles sent an email to Ramunno discharging
them ("Discharge Email") that day. From the record
before the Court, Ms. Giles sent her email to L. Vincent
Ramunno at the email
email@example.com. The Discharge Email stated that
Ms. Giles wished to hire Lundy Law as her attorney to keep
her case with Daughter's case "for the purposes of
clarity and convenience." The Discharge Email instructed
Ramunno to send Ms. Giles' file to Lundy Law. The
Discharge email also stated: "Thank you so much for all
you have done. I appreciate your representation and will
definitely recommend you to friends and family."
apparently did not review the Discharge Email on March 9,
2015. Ramunno did, however, file the Complaint on March 9,
Giles sent another email on March 11, 2015 and reiterated
that she wanted Lundy Law to represent her for both
March 13, 2015, Ms. Giles executed a fee agreement with Lundy
Law for the 2014 Accident.
March 22, 2015, Ms. Giles sent another email to Ramunno
stated that Ms. Giles discharged Ramunno and wanted the file
transferred to Lundy Law. Lundy Law also forwarded the email
to Ramunno. On March 25, 2015, Ramunno acknowledged the
request for Ms. Giles' file.
April 13, 2015, Ramunno sent a Letter to Lundy Law stating
"I am ready to turn over the Sarah Giles file to you but
would appreciate receiving a check for the costs." Lundy
Law sent the check on April 16, 2015. On April 22, 2015, Ms.
Giles advised Lundy Law that Ramunno contacted Ms. Giles and
acknowledged he was no longer representing her. But, Ramunno
stated that she should come back to Ramunno if she did not
want the case to drag on because Ramunno received an offer in
the case. Lundy Law sent Ramunno a letter on April 28, 2015
requesting Ramunno stop contacting Ms. Giles and stop
negotiating on Ms. Giles' behalf.
tried to settle the case. On April 28, 2015, Ramunno informed
Lundy Law that Ms. Giles was willing to settle the case for
$75, 000, but Ms. Boykin-Brown would only offer $65, 000.
Ramunno also informed Lundy ...