Family sues Abel Limas, former attorneys for $5.2 million dollars

Action 4 News first sat down with the family of Michael Sanchez back in February of 2008, the day after the Valley Air Care helicopter he was in crashed over the Laguna Madre.

The family, then distraught over his tragic death, is now having to relive those painful days.

Michael's wife and two children are now suing their former lawyers who settled a lawsuit for them and the judge who presided over the case against Metro Aviation and South Texas Emergency Foundation.

The companies agreed to pay out $14 million dollars to Sanchez TMs family and the family of Raul Garcia, a nurse on board the helicopter.

But the family gave up a chunk of that to Marc Rosenthal of Austin and Jim Solis of Harlingen, and unknowingly, to then-404th State District Judge Abel Limas.

Last month Limas admitted to taking bribes in exchange for judicial favors.

According to court records, Solis and Rosenthal promised Limas at least $100,000 in advance, as well as, a percentage of attorney's fees earned in the helicopter crash case.

Larry Doherty, an attorney out of Houston, is representing Michael Sanchez's wife and kids and spoke to us over the phone saying, the family is outraged, upset, disappointed, and fearful for the civil system of justice."

Doherty's clients want their former attorneys to forfeit the $5.2 million dollars they received in the settlement as well as $400,000 in attorney fees.

They also want Limas to pay back what court documents show as $85,000 in one check, $50,000 paid to him a short time later.

"He shouldn't be allowed to keep any profit, otherwise we'll send a message to the world that crime does pay if you're a lawyer or a judge, said Doherty.

The family, according to their attorney, feels used by the people they once hired and trusted to get justice for their loved one.

"Somebody has got to stand up and insist that our system function honestly and the Sanchez family has stepped up to do that," said Doherty.

Action 4 News tried contacting Solis at his Harlingen office, but did not get a response.

Both Solis and Limas have plead guilty to their roles in the public corruption scandal.Click here to read a full copy of the family's lawsuit

The Rosenthal & Watson Law Firm issued the following statement:

"This firm is proud of its record in representing individuals in their time of greatest need. Our firm's hard work and perseverance contributed greatly to the positive resolutions and verdicts obtained for our clients. The members of the firm were deeply shocked and saddened by the revelations made by Mr. Solis and Judge Limas as part of their plea agreement. The firm was unaware of anything illegal involving Mr. Solis and Judge Limas and had no reason to suspect anything improper."