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For nearly six years, a prominent Dallas plaintiffs firm has battled a former client in an attempt to recover a contingent fee. But after a three-day trial, it was the former client who won the war. On Aug. 21, a Tarrant County jury awarded $1.4 million in damages to defendant Robert L. French.

In its 2001 petition in Law Offices of Windle Turley v. Robert L. French, et al., the firm alleged that a former client took his medical-malpractice case to another lawyer without paying the Turley firm for the legal work it already had done on his case. Under the Texas Supreme Court’s 1969 opinion in Mandell & Wright v. Thomas, when a client discharges an attorney without good cause before work has been completed, the attorney may recover on the fee contract for the amount owed.

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