RMQ wants fees paid while beneficiaries dispute settlement

Kelly Holleran Feb. 17, 2010, 4:15am

After securing a large settlement for plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit, a Beaumont law firm wants its share of attorneys' fees disbursed now while the beneficiaries fight out who is entitled to the settlement proceeds.

Reaud, Morgan & Quinn LLP filed a petition in interpleader Feb. 9 in Jefferson County District Court against Barbara Newton Starr, John Glynn Hooker, Sidney Lynn Hooker, Raymond L. Hooker Jr., Marcus S. Bradshaw and Ronald David Hooker.

The law firm claims it may be subject to multiple liabilities regarding settlements reached in a case in which Raymond L. Hooker Sr. filed a complaint against B&B Engineering and Supply Co. in Harris County District Court and a case in an asbestos multi-district litigation because of potential rival claims by defendants.

"Plaintiff, Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, is subject to or reasonably anticipates rival claims being made to the settlement funds, in that the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries/Heirs are objecting to settlement funds being made payable to Defendant, Barbara Newton Starr as Successor Independent Executor of the Estate of Raymond Louis Hooker Sr., Deceased, and as Representative of the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries," the petition states.

Because the claims are adverse and conflicting, Read, Morgan & Quinn says it is unable to determine which defendant should receive a settlement fund of $315,585 and in what capacity.

"With respect to the settlement funds, Plaintiff Reaud, Morgan & Quinn LLP, is therefore in the position of an innocent stakeholder faced with the possibility of multiple liability and incidental costs," the suit states.

The firm states it has no interest in the settlement funds except as attorneys' fees and is ready to deposit the settlement funds with the court. It is asking the court to award its attorneys' fees in the amount of $122,427 and expenses in the amount of $9,892 from the settlement, and fees and costs of $2,500 for the current petition.

Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorneys Glen Morgan and Chris Portner are representing the firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A185-833.

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