Lawyer of Man Who Won $55M in Lawsuit After Fall at Work Is Suing Him for $5.5M After Being Paid $18M
Mark Perez, who is from Long Island, said the greed of his former attorney Benedict Morelli “knows no bounds."
A New York man who fractured his skull at work and won a multi-million dollar settlement is now battling with his attorney who is asking for an extra $5.5 of the settlement after he initially paid the attorney $18 million after the case was settled, according to the New York Post.
Mark Perez, who is from Long Island, said the greed of his former attorney Benedict Morelli “knows no bounds.” Morelli is suing Perez because he says he is entitled to the $5.5 million in legal fees.
“I think that lawyers should be paid well for their work, a person like me needs them to fight for them but for Mr. Morelli to take away so much of the settlement, it just seems wrong,” Perez wrote to the judge who oversaw his personal injury trial, according to the Post.
Perez, 38, was awarded $102 million by a jury in 2019 after he sued Live Nation for a fall he suffered six years earlier after a forklift crashed into a booth that Perez was working on at the Jones Beach Marine Theatre. The fall left Perez with a broken skull and in need of several brain surgeries.
After he was sued by Morelli last month, Perez said that before Perez eventually accepted a $55 million settlement, he and Morelli had agreed that Morelli would get one-third of the settlement money as a contingency fee. After the verdict went to an appeal, Morelli tried to renegotiate an additional 10% fee, but Perez said he never agreed to that, according to court documents his countersuit.
Perez wanted to pay Morelli at an hourly rate and Morelli continued working the case until they reached the $55 million settlement, according to Perez’s counterclaim.
“[Morelli] continues to insist that he should be paid $5.5 million for the post-trial and appellate work (on top of the $18,333,333.30 that Mr. Perez has already paid in legal fees), demonstrating that Morelli’s greed knows no bounds,” Perez said in his countersuit.
He also said he is the who lives with “seizures, surgeries and the constant fear of more medical problems.”
Morelli, who has moved to have Perez's case dismissed, claimed to a judge last week that he never agreed to an hourly rate and that Perez “chose to remain silent” about the extra 10% Morelli had requested until he got the settlement, the New York Post reported.
“Mr. Perez accepted the benefits of the firm’s work with respect to the appeal, did not terminate the firm, and did not ask the firm to stop working on the matter,” Morelli’s lawyers wrote in a filing last week. “He chose to remain silent while the firm completed the appeal and thereby ratified the 10% fee."
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