Next month, a Broward judge will decide whether or not to award lawyers a larger percentage of an $8.5 million jury award that Florida lawmakers approved for a paralyzed medical malpractice victim.
Two separate trial courts were held last week – one in Fort Lauderdale and one in Tallahassee – to settle a dispute about the claims bill passed earlier in the year for a nineteen-year-old and her parents.
The bill compensates them for a botched surgery performed when she was six months old, at a state clinic that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
At issue in the hearing last week was who should have jurisdiction over the dispute. The judge, who handled the original case, will preside over the fee-settlement matter and set a new hearing date for August 9th.
After a long legal battle, in 1999, a Broward jury awarded her $6.5 million and her parents $2 million in damages.
However, Florida law limits settlements against the state to $200,000 without legislative approval. Earlier this year, after seven years of petitioning the Legislature, lawmakers finally approved the claims bill, paving the way for the Noels to be compensated.
But Schlesinger, who took a $1.2 million fee from Minouche’s share, claimed he was also entitled to an additional $676,622 fee from her parents.
The state is fighting the request. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, has vowed to block additional payment and filed a complaint in Leon and Broward County. House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt also want to stop the payment.