Belsome denied, Zeek victims won’t pay 25% claim fee
This one’s been going on in the background for a while now but pending a resolution, I haven’t given it any airtime.
Long story short, back when the Zeek Rewards Receivership was accepting claims from victims, the folks over at Patrick Miller LLC saw an opportunity.
The law firm set up the “zeekrewardsclassaction.com” website and began soliciting its own claims from Zeek Rewards affiliates:
Great news, the time has come at last! Soon, the Receiver is going to announce a partial distribution of Affiliate funds and the claims process to go with it.
When the system goes live, or as soon thereafter as possible, we will be filing your claim for you and then fighting with the Receiver to get you as much money as we possibly can.
However, due to the sheer number of Affiliates, as well as the fact that many of you had multiple user names, you will receive at least one claims notice directly from the Receiver.
This is very important:
PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT A CLAIM ON YOUR OWN.
The reason Patrick Miller didn’t want Zeek victims filing their own claims is because they then wouldn’t get a cut of the claims paid out.
All in all some 739 Zeek investors filed claims through Patrick Miller. The firm put their own address on the submitted claims, with the intention that the Receivership send them victim’s checks.
Patrick Miller had hoped to collect as much as 25% of the victim’s payouts in legal fees, but the Receivership refused to deal with them.
Instead the Receivership demanded Patrick Miller provide the contact details of the victims they had signed on, so that the claim checks could be sent to the individuals themselves.
With thousands of dollars in easy money on the line, Patrick Miller objected through the filing of a “Notice of Attorney’s Charging Liens”.
After some further to and froing between the Receivership and Patrick Miller, yesterday saw Judge Mullen make a ruling on the dispute.
The Receiver’s Objection to Counsel’s Notice of Attorney’s Charging Lien and Request for Order in Aid of Distribution is SUSTAINED and GRANTED.
Plaintiff Jonny Belsome, et al.’s Notice of Attorney’s Charging Lien (Doc. No. 258) is hereby DENIED and STRICKEN from the Court’s docket
When the Receivership sent out the first round of claim checks to victims early last month, clients of Patrick Miller missed out. Pending resolution of the dispute with Patrick Miller, the Receivership set aside funds to cover claims filed by the firm.
Now that Patrick Miller’s attempts to secure a slice of victim payouts has been thwarted, those victims can expect their checks in the mail soon (the entire amounts payable).
Marc R. Michaud is ORDERED to immediately and without further delay provide the Receiver with all actual addresses of those Claimants whose Claims currently list the address of Patrick Miller LLC or any other address not related to such claimant.
Here’s to opportunistic lawyers getting what they deserve…
Footnote: Our thanks to Don @ ASDUpdates for providing a copy of Judge Mullen’s order.
Update 8th January 2015 – The decision discussed above was appealed by Belsome’s lawyers, and subsequently denied on the 7th of January by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This court may exercise jurisdiction over final orders … the order the appellants seek to appeal is neither a final order nor an appealable interlocutory or collateral order.