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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Snag a Disciplinary Complaint

According to a Morning Call account, Attorney Donald Corriere spent at least $50,000 owed to Randi Ratushny after her mother passed away. What I find interesting is what happened to Randi Ratushny's money.

She, along with her sister, are the two people who complained to the Disciplinary Board and got the ball rolling.

She passed away in 2012, leaving a will that left everything to her sister, Robin Thomas. But Ratushny's boyfriend stepped forward with a new will, claiming that he was the rightful heir. This Will was executed just two months after the first one, and Michael Corriere testified that Ratushny really intended to devise her estate to her boyfriend. Judges bought this argument, on both the County and Superior Court level.

That estate was worth $87,836.40. But $61,752.13 was gobbled up in administrative fees that included
  • a $5,000 payment made by Don Corriere to his malpractice insurance carrier for the deductible in a malpractice claim made by Ratushny.
  • $24,822.50 in ligitation fees to Don Corriere.
  • $5,832 to Michael Corriere as the Estate attorney.
There is no suggestion that any of this money was spent improperly. But a disappointed heir who sees her sister's life's savings spent on legal and administrative costs might have an ax to grind.


Anonymous said...

Bernie - the article at the link you posted contains significantly more detail, which frankly is more damning than you portray. Just my opinion.

For example, after one inquiry/complaint was received, he cut a check for over $10,000, but there were even more funds unaccounted for. Failure to set up escrow accounts. Not good.

Bill Coker said...

Over $30,000 spent on legal fees for an $87,000 estate is normal? Plus $5000 for malpractice. Perhaps attorneys are the root of many of our financial problems.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:13, I was not trying to be more or less damning. I was instead citing the high fees in s relatively small estate.

Anonymous said...

Let me say I know and like both the mentioned attorneys. This is very disheartening.

The fees associated with this estate are outrageous and plain wrong. I am both shocked and disappointed. I can only pray there is something we don't know about the estate that may warrant such extravagant fees. Otherwise, they should do the right thing and return most of the money to the estate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There was a question of who the rightful heir was - sister or boyfriend. That went to the Superior Court, so the fees were no doubt earned. But this is when clients start getting pissed. They make complaints, and the DB might find something unrelated to what was bothering the client.

Anonymous said...

Would attorneys not inform their respective clients that fighting a contested will could consume a large percentage of the small estate. Possibly consider a negotiated settlement to save money?

Just seems like it was used as an easy payday on a small estate.

The smell test comes off as rancid.

Anonymous said...

this just proves what we've known all along. Must lawyers are the scum of the earth.

Anonymous said...

A man walked into a lawyer's office and inquired about the lawyer's rates. "$50.00 for three questions," replied the lawyer. "Isn't that kinda steep?", asked the man while dolling out the $50.00. "Yes," answered the lawyer, "what's your third question?" Scumbags!

Anonymous said...

I am assuming this did not involve elder abuse that would have terminated the binded life insurance policy¿ This is to say mouth pieces involved made sure the death certificate did not have the manditory elder abuse reported by propoor authorities¿

patent pending