Lawyer sues for fees not paid |

Lawyer sues for fees not paid

Staff Reports

A Carson City man accused of failing to pay attorney’s fees after a five-year legal ordeal was ordered in district court Tuesday to pay up.

Donald Ruffner will pay one-third of lifetime payments from a disability settlement procured more than a year ago by Arthur Bayer, his former attorney.

Ruffner, without legal representation, argued that he was not liable for the payments because certain checks he had received had not been cashed.

Judge Michael Fondi refuted the claim, saying “it is foolish for a person to not cash a check they are entitled to just to prevent payment to someone else.”

Ruffner also claimed that a handicapped-accessible van had been illegally taken from him as collateral for payment of legal fees. Fondi ruled that the van, or any other possession of Ruffner’s, could legally be used as collateral.

Tuesday’s judgment released the van (after 51 days) on the condition that Ruffner set up a trust account that would automatically pay Bayer $460 a month.

The settlement with Employers Insurance Company of Nevada was a lump sum of $90,000 and $1,380 a month in disability payments. Ruffner is wheelchair-bound.