Rule would limit attorneys fees in Mich. no-fault benefits cases

John O'Brien Mar. 29, 2011, 3:10pm

Chief Justice Robert Young

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - A proposed rule limiting attorneys fees is one subject scheduled for discussion at the Michigan Supreme Court's public administrative hearing being held Wednesday.

The proposed rule would limit contingency fees in auto no-fault benefits cases the same way contingency fees are limited in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Fees in those cases are kept to one-third or less of the plaintiff's recovery. Anything over that amount is considered excessive and violates attorney ethic rules.

A plaintiff can recover five different benefits from an auto insurer in no-fault benefits cases. They are medical, wage loss, replacement services, mileage and attendant care.

Another proposed rule expands the grounds for attorney discipline. The Attorney Grievance Commission has suggested that attorneys could be sanctioned if they settle a case in an effort to conceal attorney misconduct. The attorneys could also be sanctioned if they try to seal a case for the same reason.

Other proposed rules would allow judges to speak at events as long as they do not individually solicit donations, require oral agreements to settle a case be made in open court to be binding and require attorneys hoping to appear pro hac vice in Michigan courts to pay a fee for each request.

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