In the age of tort reform, Texas plaintiffs attorneys are used to turning away clients whose suits cost more to litigate than can ever be recovered at trial. So why would a lawyer accept a case in which a client sought $77.55 — an amount of money that might pay for 15 minutes of an attorney’s time?

Partner James Holmes of Henderson, Texas’ Wellborn Houston says he proudly accepted such a case in 1997. And years later, he and his East Texas firm ended up paying $25,000 in trial costs and legal fees out of their own pockets to recover that $77.55 for their client. The firm did not charge the client anything for the additional representation.

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