VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ended the fight over attorney fees Tuesday in the case of a deadly shooting by a city police officer at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront more than two years ago.
It involved a $3 million settlement to the family of Donovon Lynch in May after a lawsuit against the city and the Virginia Beach Police Department. The judge’s order states that Lynch’s father, Wayne Lynch, will receive more than $2 million, while attorneys for Donovon Lynch will get close to $1 million, minus expenses.
Specifically, Wayne Lynch will get $2,034,729.39.
The breakdown of attorneys fees: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax will receive $348,120, while attorney Thomas Martin will receive $232,080. Anchor Legal Group, which first represented Donovon Lynch, will receive $229,635, and attorney Joseph Sherman will receive $30,374 and attorney Trey Kelleter will get $14,025. Attorney expenses came out to nearly $125,000.
During a May hearing in federal court in which the judge approved the $3 million settlement, several witnesses for the city said they thought the terms approved in December 2022 were a done deal.
The Virginia Beach City Council had approved a $3 million settlement between the city and Lynch’s family in December, but Donovon Lynch’s father and administrator of his estate never signed the agreement.
Wayne Lynch issued a statement in late December saying that neither of the lead attorneys in the suit, Fairfax and Martin, “have any connection or relationship with me, or the estate,” and he had not signed the settlement agreement on the advice of attorney Jeffrey Reichert.
Wayne Lynch had, about two weeks earlier, celebrated the ruling.
“I can smile today, with confidence and peace of mine and a broken heart,” he said at the time. “Donovon is vindicated.”
Wayne Lynch had, however, replaced his attorneys in late December 2022 and had planned to renegotiate the terms of the settlement agreement reached earlier that month.
Officer Solomon Simmons shot Lynch in a chaotic night at the Oceanfront, thinking he was armed, and a loaded gun was found nearby, registered to Lynch. A grand jury investigation found the shooting was justified, and Simmons was placed back on duty with the department.
In court documents, the city had stated that Donovon Lynch was “negligent” in contributing to his injury and death by entering an active shooting situation, crouching behind shrubbery and arming himself with a “lethal weapon.”
Wayne Lynch had filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against the Virginia Beach police officer and the city in June 2021.