Grillo Attorneys sued for not recommending Structured Settlement

A plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit settled a decade ago sued her own attorneys and guardian ad litem for legal malpractice because she was not presented with the option of a structured settlement.

The case, styled as Josephine Grillo, as guardian and next friend for Christina Grillo, a minor v. Tom L. Pettielle, T.E. Swate and Hardy, Milutin & Johns, in the 96th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, Cause NO. 96-145090-92, was concluded on March 23, 2001, per a Settlement Agreement, Release and Indemnity Agreement among the parties, which was approved and made a part of an Agreed Final Judgment. The settlement was court approved because the plaintiff, although no longer a minor, is still incapacitated.

The defendants had represented plaintiff in a 1984 medical malpractice case arising out of birth-related injuries suffered by the plaintiff. A $2.5 million settlement was reached during trial. The funds were paid to the registry of the Court and later disbursed in cash, precluding the benefits of future tax-free growth. According to plaintiff’s petition in the legal malpractice suit, the plaintiff’s attorneys, “instructed Josephine Grillo to request court approval of a Section 142 Trust and the purchase of annuities which were not tax free and did not maximize the future value of Christina Grillo’s recovery… but for defendants’ errors and omissions.”

The plaintiff’s former attorneys settled for $1.6 million. The ad litem settled for an additional $2.5 million. In case you don’t have your calculator handy, that’s more than $4 million, all because the plaintiff was not told about a structured settlement.