State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
Maynard H. Weinberg, respondent.
action. Judgment of public reprimand.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel,
Stacy, and Kelch, JJ.
case is before the court on the conditional admission filed
by Maynard H. Weinberg, respondent, on May 17, 2016. The
court accepts respondent's conditional admission and
enters an order of public reprimand.
was admitted to the practice of law in the State of Nebraska
on June 24, 1966. At all relevant times, he was engaged in
the practice of law in Omaha, Nebraska.
March 9, 2016, the Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska
Supreme Court filed formal charges against respondent. The
formal charges consist of one count against respondent. With
respect to the one count, the formal charges state that in
July 2012, respondent was retained by a client in an
employment matter. Respondent and the client mutually [294
Neb. 290] agreed to a fee of $100 per hour, and this rate was
never renegotiated during the pendency of the matter.
September 2012, the matter was transferred to another
attorney for primary representation (the primary attorney),
but respondent continued to provide some legal services to
the client, and respondent billed the client for his
individual services. Between July 2012 and December 2013,
respondent billed the client for 147.5 hours of work at $100
per hour and $209.20 in expenses. The client timely paid all
of the billing, in the amount of $14, 959.70.
December 2013, a hearing was held in the client's case in
the district court for Lancaster County, and attorney fees
were addressed. On February 7, 2014, the district court
issued an order which awarded attorney fees for respondent in
the amount of 20.25 hours of work at $175 per hour and 4
hours of work at $100 per hour, which, according to the
formal charges, totaled $3, 943.74. These attorney fees were
awarded to the client as partial reimbursement of the fees
that the client had previously paid to respondent.
February 2014 and February 2015, respondent billed the client
for 84 hours of work at $100 per hour for appellate work in
the client's case. The client timely paid all of the
billing, in the amount of $8, 400.
March 20, 2015, an opinion issued by this court awarded
attorney fees to the client in the amount of $7, 938. The
award of attorney fees in the amount of $7, 938 was for both
of the client's attorneys, respondent and the primary
attorney. This court remanded the matter to the district
court with directions to divide the $7, 938 between the two
defendant from the client's case issued two separate
checks in the amounts of $3, 943.74 and $7, 938, and both
checks were issued in the name of respondent and the primary
attorney. The primary attorney waived any additional payment
out of either of the two checks, because he had been paid in
full by the client for all billed legal services. [294 Neb.
291] The primary attorney endorsed the two checks and
remitted them to respondent. Respondent deposited both checks
in his trust account.
March 20, 2015, respondent sent a letter to the client,
asking permission to receive the additional funds of $3,
943.74 and $7, 938, totaling $11, 881.74, to reimburse
respondent for the difference between the $100 per hour
charged to the client and the $ 175 per hour he would
normally charge for that type of work. The client declined
respondent's request to renegotiate their fee
arrangement. Despite repeated requests from the client,
respondent did not disburse the fees to the client.
15, 2015, the client filed a grievance against respondent,
alleging that respondent was improperly withholding the
client's funds in an attempt to force him to accept a
renegotiated fee for services previously rendered. In his
response to the grievance, respondent asserted that he was
entitled to the full amount of $11, 881.74 because the courts
had awarded these amounts as attorney fees. On February 10,