Attorney fees inched upwards of nearly $2 million total for firms associated with the codicil trial involving the Earl O. Field Estate.
Those numbers could grow in the future, too.
On Wednesday, Don Hoffman of Dreiling, Bieker and Hoffman Law Firm, filed an appeal with the Kansas Court of Appeals. Hoffman represents Wanda Oborny, Field’s former caregiver and secretary who stood to receive several million dollars if the codicil was proven valid.
But Oborny’s testimony on the witness stand during portions of a two-week long trial wasn’t enough to sway Senior Judge William F. “Buck” Lyle, whose final judgment that came May 31 gave the largest chunk of an estimated $20.6 million to the FHSU Foundation as the original will stipulated. The codicil was found to be fraudulent.
Field, a successful businessman, died Feb. 19, 2013, at age 98.
In filed petitions for attorneys’ fees, Hoffman had noted 3,256.8 hours of service at $275 per hour. That totals $895,620, plus $78,262.49 in necessary expenses including such things as witness fees, travel, preparation expenses and trial transcripts. He requests the fees be paid by the estate of Field.
John Terry Moore and Coy M. Martin, attorneys representing the FHSU Foundation, were paid $295 per hour. Through June 15, the attorneys’ fees hit $711,294.78.
Triplett, Woolf and Garretson, who represented the Burghart family, had a bill submitted of $214,206.95, to be paid for by the estate. The Brecheisen family had paid $10,000 to Marilyn Wilder of Adrian and Pankratz Attorneys at Law, and still owed $1,641. The petition for fees requests the total amount be paid to Steve Brecheisen.
Neither Oborny or Hoffman returned phone calls seeking comment about the appeal.