Two years ago, WW reported how former personal injury attorney Lori Deveny allegedly stole millions of dollars from her clients by cashing their settlement checks from insurers ("Game Over," Jan. 16, 2019).
Now the Oregon State Bar has requested legislation that would require insurers to notify beneficiaries in writing when they send checks for $5,000 or more.
Senate Bill 180 is currently parked at the Senate Judiciary Committee and is not scheduled for a hearing.
Also in response to the Deveny scandal, the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors was scheduled to consider whether to raise the cap on the amount victims of dishonest lawyers can claim from the bar's client security fund—from $50,000 to $100,000.
Portland lawyer Sean Riddell, who represents a client from whom Deveny allegedly stole a six-figure settlement, says it's appropriate for insurers to communicate directly with beneficiaries.
"The more transparency and notice the better," Riddell says. "And if anyone in the insurance industry says it adds a burden—it doesn't."
Deveny is set for criminal trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court in July.