CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND CONSENT TO FEE SHARING (EAST PALESTINE OHIO NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILMENT)
The undersigned “Clients”: (client’s printed name; or if deceased, name of client and decedent as: (client) individually and as representative of the estate and/or the successor in interest of (decedent)), hereby employs the Bevan & Associates LPA, Watts Guerra, LLC, Watts Guerra, LLP, Sunridge Law Group LLC, and the Law Office of Douglas Boxer called “the Firms,” as my attorneys to represent me in all claims, suits, or other matters arising out of and resulting from damages suffered by me or decedent related to the February 3, 2023 Norfolk Southern Corp. train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
1. THE FIRMS’ AUTHORITY. THE FIRMS’ AUTHORITY. Client fully authorizes and directs the Firms to manage and handle my claims as they deem proper and to investigate and prosecute them, with or without filing a lawsuit, in any manner they deem advisable. Client authorizes the Firms to deliver in my name any and all notices, receipts, authorizations, releases, pleadings and any other documents proper in and to the handling of my claims. Client authorizes the Firms to use their professional judgment and any relevant documents, records, or other information that the Firms deem necessary to proper representation of Client. If, at any time, the Firms determine, for any permissible reason, that prosecution of Client’s claims should be discontinued, the Firms may withdraw from my representation. Client understands and agrees that the Firms may transmit Client’s protected health information electronically in the course of representing Client. The Firms do not provide tax advice. THIS CONTRACT WILL BE VOIDED IF A SCIENTIFIC TEST DETERMINES THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE THE REQUISITE LEVEL OF EXPOSURE TO CERTAIN CHEMICALS AS DETERMINED BY WATTS GUERRA LLC
2. CLIENT’S COOPERATION. Client agrees to cooperate fully with the Firms, disclose all relevant facts and promptly advise the Firms of any change in address or telephone number, and to promptly comply with all reasonable requests of the Firms on all matters related to this contract. Client consents to being contacted by the Firms via telephone, text message, email, and specifically through the use of robocall technology as well as any other necessary methods of communication. Client understands that failure to fully cooperate may be a basis for termination of this contract. Client agrees not to attempt on his/her part to unilaterally settle the claims made the subject of this contract. The Client will rely exclusively upon the representation of the Firms during any settlement negotiations. No settlement will be made without the Client’s consent.
3. CONTINGENT FEE ARRANGEMENT. The Firms will assume joint responsibility for Client’s representation. In consideration of such legal services, Client hereby assigns and grants to the Firms the following percentage of any monies, interest, settlement, judgement, Court awarded costs or attorney fees or property recovered FORTY PERCENT (40%) or the maximum amount below that amount allowed by Federal Law. Client consents to the Firms’ sharing these attorneys’ fees 45.125% to Watts Guerra LLC, 2.375% to Watts Guerra LLP, 43.9375% to Sunridge Law Group, LLC and 3.5625% to the Law Office of Doug Boxer and 5% to Bevan & Associates LPA, Inc. Client consents to the Firms sharing their attorneys’ fees with local counsel as necessary. Attorneys’ fees will be determined before repayment of expenses; that is, attorneys’ fees will be calculated based on the gross recovery, before expenses are deducted. Client will receive all funds paid to Client by Client’s insurance company and no portion of insurance proceeds will be included in the contingent fee arrangement. This contingency fee is not set by law but is negotiable between the Attorney and Client. In the event there is no recovery, Client owes the Firms nothing.
4. EXPENSES PAID BY THE FIRMS. The Firms agree to advance any and all reasonable expenses associated with the prosecution of client’s claim. Expenses advanced by the Firms will be repaid to them from any recoveries made. In the event no recovery is made, no repayment of expenses advanced will be required. Advanced expenses that shall be reimbursed include office expenses attributable to the representation, other than general overhead expenses. Such reimbursable office expenses shall include, but are not limited to, internal document copying and scanning at $0.25 per page, document copying and scanning performed by others, photograph, video and document imaging expenses and reproduction thereof, mileage at the rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service, travel, and all airfare, mileage, legal research and investigation charges, long distance telephone charges, fax and electronic mail expense and postage. The reimbursable expenses will also include any and all expenses or costs paid to or for persons, entities or businesses outside the firm which are related to the representation, including but not limited to, experts and their staffs; jury consultants; specialized legal counsel for bankruptcy proceedings initiated by defendants; Medicare/Medicaid, hospital lien, and subrogation resolution services; interpreters; investigators; court reporters; videographers; and document imaging companies and personnel. Regardless of outcome, Client will be responsible for all medical bills and liens incurred as a result of medical treatment received. Client understands the Firms may be representing multiple clients and agrees that in representing multiple clients many of the expenses incurred are common case expenses, which are costs and expenses incurred for the benefit of multiple clients, including expert witness fees, depositions of defendants, experts, and non-party witnesses, settlement conferences, trial expenses, filing fees, copy costs, and other expenses that are incurred for purposes of influencing the outcome of multiple clients’ claims. Client agrees the expenses that I am required to reimburse, if there is a recovery, include not only expenses for my own claims, but also client’s pro rata share of the common case expenses.
5. MULTIPLE CLIENTS. Client understands and agrees that the Firms may be representing more than one client in this matter and that the following aspects of joint representation have been disclosed: (1) the Client might gain or lose some advantages if represented by separate counsel; (2) the Firms cannot serve as an advocate for one client against another client; (3) the Firms must deal impartially with every client; (4) information received by the Firms from or on behalf of any jointly represented client concerning the matter may not be confidential or privileged as between the jointly-represented clients; and (5) if a conflict arises between clients, the Firms might not be able to continue representing any of the clients involved. Client consents to the Firms representing more than one client in this matter.
6. LAW AND VENUE. This agreement shall be governed by and interpreted under Ohio substantive law, and exclusive venue and jurisdiction of any lawsuit or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement shall lie in Ohio State Court in Columbiana County, Ohio. If any provision of this agreement shall be held to be invalid, illegal, unenforceable or in conflict with the law of any jurisdiction, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.
7. NO SOLICITATION OF CLIENT. By signing and entering into this agreement, Client hereby affirms that Client’s case was not solicited by the Firms, the agreement is not being entered into as a result of promises of money, no promises of a successful recovery have been made to Client, and Client has freely and voluntarily entered into this agreement.
READ AND ACCEPTED BY:
CLIENT MAIN EMAIL ADDRESS:
List the Names of Minors the Client is the custodial parent/guardian of, that Client is signing on behalf of
If Client has additional adult family members, Client’s adult family members will receive agreement to sign when Client speaks to case manager.
BY WATTS GUERRA LLC
BY WATTS GUERRA LLP
BY BEVAN & ASSOCIATES LPA, INC.
BY SUNRIDGE LAW GROUP, LLC
BY LAW OFFICE OF DOUGLAS BOXER