In the age of tort reform, Texas plaintiffs attorneys are used to turning away clients whose suits cost more to litigate than can ever be recovered at trial. So why would a lawyer accept a case in which a client sought $77.55 -- an amount of money that might pay for 15 minutes of an attorney's time?
Partner James Holmes of Henderson, Texas' Wellborn Houston says he proudly accepted such a case in 1997. And years later, he and his East Texas firm ended up paying $25,000 in trial costs and legal fees out of their own pockets to recover that $77.55 for their client. The firm did not charge the client anything for the additional representation.
Holmes explains that, by representing Robbie L. Linton, he was making good on a promise his firm made nearly two decades earlier. On Jan. 29, Linton, a former oil field worker injured on the job 20 years earlier, won a verdict for $77.55 -- the cost of two prescriptions an insurance carrier refused to cover.
"This is the funniest tragic thing I've ever seen," Holmes says.