Wilkes & McHugh sued over alleged Tenn. fee grab

Tampa-based Wilkes & McHugh, which has enjoyed much success filing suits against nursing homes in many states, “is now on the defense end of a suit that contends the firm knowingly violated Tennessee law regarding contingency fees.” Former client Debbie Howard, who hired the firm to sue a Memphis nursing home, says it “engaged in an unlawful scheme to collect 40 percent or 45 percent in contingency fees of settlement amounts, although Tennessee law caps fees to 33 and 1/3 percent in medical malpractice cases. The complaint says the law firm charged the higher and unlawful contingency fee to hundreds of clients in Tennessee.” In its response, the law firm says the complaint is “scurrilous” and based on falsehoods, and says Howard never appealed a Tennessee court order approving the fees. (Liz Freeman, “Tampa law firm faces contingency fees lawsuit”, Naples (Fla.) News, Jan. 14; Scott Barancik, “Firm gets a taste of dish it serves”, St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 17). For more on the law firm, see Mar. 13-14, 2001, Jul. 6, 2005, and Jun. 22, 2006, as well as Scott Barancik, “Law firm’s success against nursing homes has a price”, St. Petersburg Times, Jul. 24, 2004.

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