Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Protective order entered for settlement evidence in attorney’s fee sharing lawsuit


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 1, 2018

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder granted a motion for a protective order in a fee dispute filed by a former associate attorney with Roth Law.

Plaintiff Deborah Besserman, a former law clerk and paralegal who was later hired as an associate attorney for Roth Law, filed the lawsuit against the firm and Ronald Roth. She argues that the firm reached an oral agreement to compensate her for cases she refered to the defendants.

On condition of the fee sharing agreement, Besserman referred plaintiff Eric Fields to the defendants.


In her suit, Besserman claims that in early 2014, she and another attorney were called into a meeting where the defendant announced a change in the fee sharing provision, but neither agreed.

Besserman claims her former employer kept changing the fee sharing plan without agreement from the associate attorneys for the rest of her employment. She was terminated by Roth Law on July 1, 2014, before either of the Fields cases were resolved. She claims she was terminated without cause.

Besserman alleges Roth’s refusal to pay her share of the attorney’s fees breaches the compensation agreement and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Besserman filed a motion for a protective order on March 19 through attorney Bill T. Walker of Granite City.

Besserman sought discovery evidence of any settlements in two Fields cases.

The defendants responded that the settlement in Fields’ 2015 case was confidential and required consent of the underlying defendant.

On March 5, Besserman was informed that the underlying defendant in the Fields case had not agreed to entry of the protective order. However, Besserman claims production of documents evidencing the settlement is necessary for her to calculate her damages in this case.

Besserman seeks a protective order requiring production of evidence of settlement of the 2015 Fields case.

Crowder granted her motion on April 26, giving the defendants until May 7 to disclose the evidence.

The defendants are represented by Hunter & Johnson PC in Godfrey.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1377

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