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Foster v. Kotsakos

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 23, 2014

JAY FOSTER, APPELLANT
v.
PAUL KOTSAKOS, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/14/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES B. PERSONS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AWARDED ATTORNEY'S FEES.

FOR APPELLANT: JAY FOSTER (Pro se), JAMES (JAY) R. FOSTER II.

FOR APPELLEE: WILLIAM CARL MILLER.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND ROBERTS, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 897

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - OTHER

IRVING, P.J.

¶1. This appeal arises from the award by the Harrison County Chancery Court of attorney's fees in a guardianship proceeding involving injuries sustained by a minor in a car accident. Jay Foster, an attorney initially hired by the minor's father and then fired, is appealing the chancellor's award of the majority of the attorney's fees to the attorney subsequently hired to represent the minor.

FACTS

¶2. K.K., a minor,[1] was injured in a car wreck in December 2011. Acting on her behalf, her father, Paul Kotsakos, entered into an attorney's-fee contract with Foster in February 2012. No guardianship proceedings were initiated for the minor and the attorney's-fee contract was not submitted to the chancery court for approval. Dissatisfied with the progress toward settlement, the father fired Foster in July 2012, and retained Billy Miller to represent K.K.

¶3. At the time of Foster's termination, he had done very little work on the case. The file turned over to Kotsakos by Foster had only six documents in it, including the police report supplied to Foster by Kotsakos and some letters from a medical collection agency.

¶4. The tortfeasor involved in the car wreck in which K.K. was injured had only $25,000 in liability insurance coverage, while K.K. had $24,416 in medical expenses.

Page 898

Therefore, the main legal work consisted of getting the insurer to pay the policy limits, negotiating a reduction in medical bills, and drafting the necessary guardianship paperwork, which was all done by Miller. After Miller negotiated a reduction in medical bills, $10,067.36 was left for distribution to K.K. Miller then obtained an ...


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