Goyal v. Gas Tech. Inst., No. 12-3756 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Gomberg briefly represented Goyal in 2004 settlement negotiations with a former employer over his claims of retaliation for whistle-blowing and gave Goyal’s employer notice of an attorney lien on any settlement or judgment. The negotiations did not produce an agreement; Goyal later retained new counsel to pursue litigation. In 2009, without the aid of any counsel, Goyal settled with his former employer. After Goyal settled, Gomberg reappeared and demanded a share. The employer paid a portion of the settlement to Gomberg. The district court granted Goyal’s motion to quash the lien, effectively ordering Gomberg to pay Goyal. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that Gomberg is not entitled to any part of the settlement funds Goyal secured and that “Gomberg’s professional conduct is questionable.” His position that he “secured” funds for Goyal when the opposing party made an unacceptable and unaccepted settlement offer is unreasonable to the point of being frivolous and possibly warranting sanctions. Gomberg’s assertion of a lien for $70,000 was far greater than 10 percent of even the employer’s unaccepted (and not yet made) offer of $375,000 and was without basis.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 17, 2013.