A Tampa attorney is seeking payment from another law firm over a decade-old case.
After a 2005 purse snatching led to the permanent incapacitation of an elderly shopper, the victim’s niece, Carolyn Brooks, sought the advice of Joel Fein on a potential civil suit.
Fein reportedly referred her to a firm that specialized in tort and personal-injury representation. Fein agreed to accept a 25 percent cut of whatever award was issued for referring the case.
Brooks ultimately won a $2.75 million settlement against the shopping center on Palm River Road and 78 Street in Tampa on behalf of the victim, Sarah Edwards. Of that, Fein received a $275,000 commission.
But now Fein is suing the other firm, Martinez-Odom Law Group, for a separate $5 million case against the car insurance company that insured the purse-snatcher. Fein was not paid a commission on that separate suit.
He alleges Martinez-Odom intentionally concealed the suit to avoid having to pay him the agreed-upon commission and argues the non-payment is a breech of contract.
Fein has retained one of Tampa’s most acclaimed attorneys, Barry Cohen.
Fein and his attorney are also alleging Martinez-Odom failed to secure a big enough settlement against the insurer on Edwards’ behalf. Attorneys settled on $5 million on a $69 million court judgment.
It’s unclear whether Fein could be awarded more money based on the larger judgment amount.
The 2005 incident occurred when Edwards was walking through the parking lot. A large GMC Sierra 1500 pick-up truck drove by her and grabbed the purse. The driver, David Dwayne Scott, then accelerated. The force pushed Edwards into the truck and then to the ground.
Edwards suffered a severe brain injury and, according to the lawsuit, was left in a semi-vegetative state.
Scott was subsequently sentenced to prison in 2006 for the crime. He’s scheduled to be released in 2023.