CHP punching victim's lawyer payout called into question

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Civil rights activists are calling for an investigation into a lawyer's payout in the $1.5 million settlement to Marlene Pinnock.

Pinnock is the mentally-ill homeless woman who was beaten on the freeway last year by a California Highway Patrol officer.

The activists want the state bar and the Los Angeles County district attorney to investigate the fee of her attorney, Caree Harper, who received more than $600,000 from the settlement. That is more than 40 percent.

"We believe that Caree Harper took advantage of her client and exploited her," activist Najee Ali said.

But Laurie Levenson, Loyola Law school professor, had a different view.

"Standardly, lawyers will ask for anywhere from a third, 33 percent to 40 percent or more. Now, this one is on the high end, but each case depends on the facts of that case. How much work the lawyer has to do," she said.

Eyewitness News has not been able to obtain a comment from Harper.

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