A lawyer should not agree to personally indemnify an opposing party, as it violates Florida rules and a lawyer should not require that another attorney enter into an agreement to personally indemnify an opposing party, as that also violates Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. This was the finding of Florida Bar Staff Opinion 30310, issued on April 4, 2011.
The context for this opinion was “whether an attorney representing a plaintiff in a personal injury matter under a contingency fee agreement may personally sign a settlement release containing a hold harmless and indemnification agreement in favor of the opposing party which would obligate the plaintiff’s attorney to indemnify and hold harmless the defendant for any future liability under the Medicare Secondary Payor Act …’MSPA’.”
Paraphrasing the opinion, it said that the Federal Government may recover past paid benefits and future medical expenses it may pay resulting from the injury to a plaintiff in some third party claims or litigation. Defendants and their insurance carriers must report to Medicare third party claims settlements. Damages may be recovered against the defense and plaintiff attorneys if the MSPA’s requirements are not followed.