VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Wayne Lynch, who is suing the City of Virginia Beach over the police killing of his son, has replaced his attorneys once again and now plans to renegotiate the terms of the settlement agreement that his son’s estate and the city reached earlier this month.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s (usually an especially quiet one in the courts) has seen over a half dozen motions and memorandums filed in the case, which seemed all but settled just days ago.
Earlier this week, we reported that Wayne Lynch had not signed the $3 million settlement agreement on the advice of Jeff Reichert, an attorney representing the family and estate of Donovon Lynch.
This sparked a move by his other attorneys, Justin Fairfax and Thomas B. Martin, and representatives for the city to file a joint motion requesting a judge to enforce the terms of the deal. So far that hasn’t been acted on yet.
In the meantime, after telling 10 On Your Side he’d terminated relationships with Martin and Fairfax, a motion was filed on Wayne Lynch’s behalf to replace his legal representation on Wednesday. He’s now being represented by Joseph V. Sherman, Esq. Of Joseph V. Sherman, P.C.
In that motion, Reichert details a timeline of interactions between himself and the other lawyers in the case in which he submitted changes to be made to the settlement agreement which was apparently ignored by Fairfax.
“Mr. Fairfax advised he may act independent of the Estate’s interests if the Estate proposed any edits to the agreement,” an entry for Dec. 22 reads.
Also on Wednesday, Anchor Legal Group, the first law firm retained by Wayne Lynch back in June of 2021, filed a motion asking the court to make sure they receive payment for their services out of the $3 million to be paid out by the city.
On Thursday, two memos were submitted in support of having a judge enforce the agreement. The first one, from Fairfax and Thomas, criticized Reichert’s actions and argued that the settlement is in fact in the estate’s interests.
“Mr. Reichert has not provided a reason – let alone a compelling or legally permissible one – for his opposition,” they argued. That document referred to Reichert’s actions as “nefarious and increasingly bizarre, defamatory and alarming.
Future litigation over failure to make prompt payments to the legal firms that represented them would waste the court’s time and not be in the estate’s interest, they argued.
These firms consider their bills due soon as the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the suit, which they see as the end of the legal fight, was signed weeks ago.
The document includes a breakdown of what each firm is owed. Under “lienholders,” Anchor Law and US Claims have payments due of $238,902.68 and $48,895, respectively. Fairfax is owed $466,704.77 and Martin Law LLC expects $267,935.65.
After all is said and done, Wayne Lynch will have to pay out just over a million dollars in legal fees from the $3 million settlement.
The second memo, submitted by the city, argues that by signing the MOU, Wayne Lynch was also bound to the terms of the settlement agreement. Both memos heavily rely on precedents set by past cases to make their cases.
Both documents also cast doubt on Reichert’s role as attorney for the estate. The city refers to him as “the Estate’s alleged ‘attorney in fact.’” Fairfax and Martin pointed to a previous hearing set to establish who Wayne Lynch’s representation was back in October after they joined the suit.
“The Court further clarified on the record at the hearing the non-party status of an interested non-party related to the case, Jeffrey Reichert.”
His role has remained a controversial subject for months. Reichert is not licensed to practice law in Virginia, he explained to us, so he sees his job as retaining and overseeing the trial lawyers in the suit.
“I chose Jeff Reichert and he is the only attorney I have not had to fire for not looking out for the Estate’s best interests,” Wayne Lynch said in a statement Tuesday, hinting at the motion to replace his attorneys that was filed the next day.
For his part, Reichert says he has substantive objections and that language in the final settlement agreement was different than what was signed off on in the MOU.
“For example, the [MOU] releases the City from pending and available claims from Donovon’s killing. The formal settlement agreement, drafted by the City, seeks an agreement that Mr. Lynch will never ‘in any way aid’ the prosecution ‘of any action’ against Defendants ‘in any way’ related to Donovon’s killing,” he said in a statement to WAVY News.
The issue may have to do with the possibility of Wayne Lynch’s involvement in a Department of Justice investigation into the case, if one were to ever happen. The statement goes on:
“Mr. Lynch holds out hope the Department of Justice will investigate the City for the intentional killing of his son. The inconsistencies, errors, and provable falsehoods in the City’s account of the incident may inspire the federal government to intervene to require systemic change and improve the safety of policing other young adults in the City. Mr. Lynch cares about the safety of the community and its young adults and will participate and aid any action by the Department of Justice related to Donovon’s unprovoked killing.”
When asked if anyone on the Lynch legal team had been in contact with the DOJ, Sherman said “no comment.”
10 On Your Side reached out to the city for comment and received the following statement:
“The City of Virginia Beach negotiated a settlement in good faith with the Estate of Donovon Lynch and its attorneys and advisors. That negotiation resulted in a memorandum (attached) detailing the settlement terms that Wayne B. Lynch, as administrator of the Estate, signed. While there were additional steps to be taken to complete the settlement, the case was settled as of Mr. Lynch’s signing the memorandum and the subsequent approval of the settlement by City Council. The City considers this case resolved, and has communicated to the Estate’s legal counsel that the City will not engage in any re-negotiation of the settlement terms.”