Gage County Hires Law Firm to Challenge Insurance Denial, in Beatrice Six Case

BEATRICE – Gage County will challenge the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association and EMC Insurance, over whether the county had insurance coverage that may help pay a $28.1 million civil judgment against the county in the Beatrice Six case.

The Gage County Board today approved separate agreements with the law firm of Keating, O’Gara, Nedved and Peter….in a challenge against NIRMA….a county insurance pool in which Gage County is a member…..and against EMC.   The separate agreements allowed Supervisor Dennis Byars, a NIRMA Board member, to abstain from the vote on the agreement regarding the county insurance pool.

The agreements include an hourly attorney rate of $275 and paralegal rate of $75, and are contingent upon whether the county is successful in recovering against NIRMA or EMC.   If successful, the agreement includes increasing percentages of legal fees, based on the level of monetary recovery by the county.

The supervisors met with the legal firm behind closed doors today, before approving the agreements.   County Board Chairman Myron Dorn says the contingent agreements are structured at a lower rate, recognizing the financial situation facing the county with the Beatrice Six case.

The base agreements stipulate that the county pay no more than $12,500 in legal fees per quarter, or $40,000 per calendar year.

Both NIRMA and EMC have said they are not liable to pay the county to cover the judgment awarded to six persons who spent a combined 70 years in prison, for the murder and rape of Helen Wilson, of Beatrice, in 1985.

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