In the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Judge Denny Chin has limited a number of legal fee awards related to the WexTrust Capital Ponzi scheme and has rejected a settlement agreement with Much Shelist Denenbert Ament & Rubenstein as being too lenient.
The law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King has already billed the University of Oregon over $70,000 in legal fees to investigate allegations of NCAA violations in the pursuit of running back Lache Seastrunk. (Incidentally, the running back has already transferred out of the school before playing a snap.) Oregon retained the firm back in March, after it was revealed the school paid $25,000 to a talent scout in 2010, after the back gave his commitment to Oregon. Complete Scouting Services had been advising players, and CEO Willie Lyles allegedly had a mentoring relationship with the running back.
According to a recent article published by The National Law Journal, the 9th Circuit reversed and remanded a settlement in the class action involving Motorola Bluetooth headsets, concluding that the District Court judge, in approving the settlement, did not adequately assess whether the legal fees were reasonable.
The settlement’s fee provision awarded the plaintiffs’ attorneys $800,000. Following the district court judge’s approval of the settlement, an appeal was filed by seven objectors of the agreement. Essentially, the objectors argued that the attorneys received significantly more than the class members. Under the settlement, the class received $12,000 to be distributed to nine class representatives. The settlement also provided for $100,000 in charitable gifts.
A collection of Legal Fee news articles from the past week-
KBR Wants Attorneys’ Fees From Woman Who Claimed Rape (Legal Newsline) – A former subsidiary corporation of Halliburton is seeking over $2 million dollars in attorneys fees from a woman who alleged the company caused her gang rape. Kellogg, Brown and Root, a company performing contracting work in Iraq, was cleared by a jury that the woman was raped and deemed the case consensual sex. KBR alleges that “Jones’ fabricated story of being drugged and raped demonstrates that her Title VII claims are not only frivolous, unreasonable, and groundless, but also that she brought those claims in bad faith.” KBR is seeking over $2 million dollars in damages and $145,073 in costs. http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/233629-kbr-wants-attorneys-fees-from-woman-who-claimed-rape
Forbes magazine recently reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) slammed unreasonable attorney’s fees in two recent arbitration decisions. FINRA is a private financial regulation organization that offers arbitration services for its members. The Forbes article discusses two recent arbitration cases and their criticism of attorney’s fees.
The Los Angeles Times reported that one of the city’s top pension appointees is seeking reimbursement from taxpayers for his legal bills. Sean Harrigan, former president of Los Angeles’ Fire and Police Pensions board, stated he incurred “significant” attorneys’ fees after an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into California pension funds. Harrigan believes he is entitled to reimbursement because last year Los Angeles paid a former city employee over $100,000 for the legal costs he sustained while he was the target of state and federal investigations into campaign fundraising. However, this former employee was not compensated until each agency confirmed they had dropped their investigations.
A number of plaintiff attorneys involved in Merck & Co.’s large Vioxx settlement were granted a greater portion of fees after objecting to their original awards. After winning 11 of 16 Vioxx lawsuits that went to trial, Merck agreed to settle thousands of claims brought by those affected by the drug’s serious side effects. Attorneys who worked on merging the claims were awarded $315.3 million in fees, to be split among several participating law firms. Allocation of the fees was determined by a court-appointed committee of Vioxx lawyers.
A collection of Legal Fee articles from around the internet.
The Bankruptcy Files: ‘Old GM’ Generates Some Big Legal Bills (am Law Daily)– The General Motors bankruptcy (In re Motors Liquidation Company, et al. f/k/a General Motors Corp., et al.) has led to some high legal fees for the firms involved in the case. The final fee request for Weil, Gotshal & Mangesis almost 9.5 million, bringing their total request to 46.2 million dollars. Other firms including Jenner & Bock and Kramer Levin have multi-million dollar requests in. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/08/bankruptcy-files-1.html
The Wall Street Journal reported that Stifel Financial Corp., a financial holding company, had an 84% reduction in quarterly profits in Q2. According to the company’s Q2 earnings release, profits were significantly impacted by the ongoing civil litigation with five southeastern Wisconsin School Districts and a related regulatory investigation. In addition to the litigation cost associated with those cases the company had significant expenses related to its merger with Thomas Weisel Partners Group, Inc. Stifel reported that these combined expenses accounted for a $27.9 million decrease in net profits.
A Selection of Legal Fees Articles From the Past Week
Dramatic FINRA Arbitrations Slam Attorneys’ Fees (Forbes) – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority reduced what it felt were excessive attorneys’ fees in recent arbitration. Despite a default judgment being issued, the arbitrator slashed over 50% of claimed fees because the documentations failed to specify the tasks being performed with reasonable specificity. – http://www.forbes.com/sites/billsinger/2011/08/11/dramatic-finra-arbitrations-slam-attorneys-fees