Attorney lien disputes are always difficult and not something to look forward to. But, sometimes you just have to stick up for yourself. Michael J. “M.J.” Blakely, Jr., a shareholder at Pope McGlamry, P.C., did just that.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge (EDPa) is the Special Master in the NFL Concussion Litigation pending before Judge Anita Brody. Among other things, Judge Strawbridge hears attorney lien disputes as part of the administration of the settlement program. Earlier this year, he issued a 93-page Report and Recommendation, setting forth the criteria he employs to resolve such a dispute.

Post Settlement Client Transitions

Pope McGlamry represents hundreds of former NFL players in this litigation and has served in a leadership position on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee since these cases were consolidated in 2012 as part of MDL No. 2323. In several instances, all after the settlement was announced and most after the settlement was finally approved on appeal, Pope McGlamry lost clients to another lawyer. Such was the case with former NFL player Leeland McElroy.

Recovery From Lien Disputes

Pope McGlamry has been generally successful in resolving their attorney lien disputes with opposing counsel, but in this instance, opposing counsel took the position that Pope McGlamry’s work over 3 years in Mr. McElroy’s case had no value. Forced to litigate this issue, M.J. Blakely appeared before Judge Strawbridge for an evidentiary hearing. The result was a Memorandum Opinion dated March 20, 2019. In ordering a substantial recovery to Pope McGlamry, the Judge ruled, “Looking at Pope’s work, it is clear that firm provided quality services in this litigation . . .” and that “Pope provided quality representation and made contributions to the ultimate Award recovered in this case.”

When asked about the opinion, Mr. Blakely said, “We appreciate the thoughtfulness and thoroughness from Judge Strawbridge and are proud of the work our firm has done in this litigation.”

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