Case Caption: Horaciana J. Rojas, et al., (Appellants/Plaintiffs), v Two/Morrow Ideas Enterprises,et al., (Appellees/Defendants.)Case Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2008-0071Date: 07/30/2010Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

The Court holds that, when the Superior Court is asked to review the reasonableness of a settlement agreement on behalf of a minor plaintiff, it also possesses jurisdiction to review a contingent fee agreement between the adult plaintiffs and their attorney. However, because such agreements must be reviewed in light of the best interests of the minor, the Superior Court's decision to reduce an attorney's contingent fee without applying the appropriate three-factor test requires that the decision be vacated. Moreover, although the Superior Court possesses jurisdiction to review the reasonableness of a contingent fee agreement independently of a petition to approve a minor's settlement, it cannot reduce a contingency fee as unreasonable unless it considers the eight factors provided for in Rule 1.5 of the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, made applicable to Virgin Islands courts pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 203. Finally, because the record contained no evidence that the contingent fee in this case was unconscionable, the Court also reverses the Superior Court's finding that the contingency fee must be reduced because it is unconscionable.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion