Section 60I: Attorney fees; limitations on contingency fees
Section 60I. Attorney fees for services rendered on behalf of a claimant or defendant in a medical negligence case shall be fair and reasonable. An attorney representing a claimant may charge a client a contingency fee, which shall be subject to the rules and guidelines of the supreme judicial court. No contingent fee agreement, shall be enforced, and no attorney shall recover a fee thereunder, as a result of services rendered in an action against a provider of health care for malpractice, negligence, error, omission, mistake, or the unauthorized rendering of professional services if, at the time of judgment, the court determines that the amount of the recovery paid or to be paid to the plaintiff, after deduction of the attorney's reasonable expenses and disbursements for which the plaintiff is liable and the amount of the attorney's fee, is less than the total amount of the plaintiff's unpaid past and future medical expenses included in the recovery, unless the contingent attorney's fee: (a) is twenty per cent or less of the plaintiff's recovery; (b) is reduced to twenty per cent or less of the plaintiff's recovery; or (c) is reduced to a level which permits the plaintiff to be paid his unpaid past and future medical expenses included in the recovery.
An attorney shall not contract for or collect a contingent fee for representing any person seeking damages in connection with an action for malpractice, negligence, error, omission, mistake, or the unauthorized rendering of professional services against a provider of health care in excess of the following limits:
(1) Forty per cent of the first one hundred and fifty thousand dollars recovered;
(2) Thirty-three and one-third per cent of the next one hundred and fifty thousand dollars recovered;
(3) Thirty per cent of the next two hundred thousand dollars recovered;
(4) Twenty-five per cent of any amount by which the recovery exceeds five hundred thousand dollars.
The limitations shall apply regardless of whether the recovery is by settlement, arbitration or judgment. Nothing herein shall preclude any attorney from contracting to represent a client for less than the above limits, nor shall anything herein preclude a court from assessing reasonable attorney's fees at any amount below the above limits or from determining that attorney's fees below such limits are unreasonably high in a particular case.