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Law firm awarded $500K from Shick settlement

| Monday, June 23, 2014, 7:57 p.m.

A law firm that represented the family of a man who died in the Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic shooting will receive more than a half-million dollars for its work.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lawrence O'Toole on Friday awarded Farrell & Reisinger LLC, Downtown, $507,836 in attorneys' fees from a $1.5 million settlement between UPMC and the parents of Michael Schaab, a therapist killed when John Shick, 30, walked into Western Psych in Oakland with two handguns and opened fire on March 8, 2012. University of Pittsburgh police shot and killed Shick.

Schaab's parents, Harry and Nancy Schaab, hired Farrell & Reisinger on March 29, 2012, to represent them in the civil lawsuit against UPMC. Court documents show the couple agreed to pay 35 percent of any award to the firm, or 33 percent if the case was resolved without formal litigation.

On July 20, 2012, both sides agreed to a $1.5 million settlement, but the Schaabs failed to sign the formal release, in part because they wanted to sue Shick's estate and parents. Farrell & Reisinger did not.

The Schaabs terminated the firm and hired attorney Michael O'Day to represent them. Farrell & Reisinger then filed a petition to collect, and the Schaabs sued the firm for breach of contract. Neither the Schaabs nor attorney William Pietragallo, who represents the firm, could be reached.

O'Toole said in his decision that the release “was merely wrap-up paperwork,” and the settlement “demonstrates substantial expertise” because Schaab's death would have been covered under the workers' compensation statute.

Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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