Arguments before the Missouri Court of Appeals on Tuesday focused on fees charged by attorneys for Rita Hunter, former Jasper County public administrator, and whether the attorneys breached a responsibility to county wards.
R. Lynn Myers, representing Emma France and several other wards of the former administrator, contended that fees charged by Gayle Crane and then John Podleski were improper because there was no formal contract between the former administrator and the attorneys. Myers also contended that because wards’ money paid their fees, the attorneys had a duty to “represent” the wards that they did not fulfill.
Attorneys for Crane and Podleski argued that no written contract was required. And, they said attorneys would be guilty of a conflict of interest if they were expected to represent county wards along with the administrator.
Whether attorneys fees are reasonable, he said, is overseen by the probate judge.
Myers argued that the fact that attorney fees come from wards’ estates gives the attorney “some responsibility” to act for the benefit of that disabled person.
Reinbold said the payment of fees does not create an “attorney-client relationship.”
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Appeals Court Hears Arguments on Ex-Administrator's Attorneys Fees
Ruling: Court Acted Properly