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Claim Examples

CPF Home | Application Form | Rules | Claim Examples
FAQs | Testimonials | History | CPF Committee

Unearned Fees
Embezzlement of Estate Assets
Stealing by Lawyer Acting in a Fiduciary Capacity
Theft of Settlement Proceeds
Ineligible Claims


Unearned Fees

    Claims of this nature normally involve the payment of a retainer fee to the attorney, and the subsequent failure of the attorney to perform the services for which he or she was paid. Evaluation of these claims can be difficult, requiring the Standing Committee to determine whether the conduct complained of constitutes malpractice or negligence, a fee dispute, or whether the facts presented should be considered the intentional retention of an unearned fee.

Embezzlement of Estate Assets

    These claims usually involve the misappropriation or embezzlement of estate assets by an attorney, usually one hired to probate the estate. Larger sums of money are usually involved in this type of claim. Typically, the Fund requests that the personal representative file the claim on behalf of the estate.

Stealing by Lawyer Acting in a Fiduciary Capacity

    Claims of this type include instances where a client entrusts a sum of money to his or her attorney for a specific purpose, but instead the attorney converts the client's money to his or her own use. The conversion may occur through the use of a power of attorney or some other type of escrow document, and often times the client is elderly or incapacitated. These claims can be difficult to evaluate, particularly where the claimant fails to document the transaction or otherwise negligently entrusts money or property to the attorney.

Theft of Settlement Proceeds

    Thefts of this nature occur when an attorney, retained to pursue a damage claim on behalf of the client, subsequently negotiates a settlement of the claim, usually without the client's knowledge or consent. In many instances, the attorney forges the client's name on the settlement check and keeps all of the proceeds.

Ineligible Claims

    The Client Protection Fund does not reimburse claims where the conduct involved constitutes negligence, malpractice, fee disputes, or claims where the client is dissatisfied with the results obtained by the attorney. The Board generally reimburses only the actual dollar amount stolen by the attorney, or the actual value of property stolen. Consequential or punitive damages are not awarded.

     

 

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State Bar of Michigan
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