King fires lawyer over billing concerns

August 04, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Concerned his multimillion-dollar court award could be eaten away by excessive bills, Rodney G. King fired his attorney yesterday and rehired the lawyer who first filed his police brutality lawsuit.

The legal shake-up came as the city of Los Angeles agreed yesterday to comply with a jury verdict issued in April and pay $3.8 million to Mr. King for injuries he suffered in a 1991 beating by Los Angeles police officers.

Attorney Steven A. Lerman, who won back the case from Milton C. Grimes, said Mr. King is concerned he will lose much of his award to the many people who are submitting bills to him for their work on the case -- including lawyers, doctors, investigators and others.

"Mr. King and his former lawyer, Mr. Grimes, had some disagreement over the case, so he rehired me to resolve the dispute and effect the closure of the case," Mr. Lerman said.

A court hearing is scheduled for next month before U.S. District Judge John G. Davies to determine how much the city must pay for Mr. King's legal bills.

The city is liable for those fees, but Mr. King's total bills are expected to greatly exceed what Judge Davies orders the city to pay.

Mr. Grimes, an Orange County defense attorney, was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment about the latest development.

Mr. Lerman said Mr. King was not available for interviews.

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