Prominent Indiana Firm Ordered to Reimburse Defendant’s Legal Fees after Pursuing a Frivolous Lawsuit

 Posted by at 9:50 am  Court Decisions  Comments Off on Prominent Indiana Firm Ordered to Reimburse Defendant’s Legal Fees after Pursuing a Frivolous Lawsuit
Mar 302012
 

According to Forbes, a federal judge in Indiana ordered attorneys from the prestigious firm Motley Rice, among others, to reimburse almost $400,000 in legal defense fees to ITT Educational Services, following what the court deemed to be a frivolous lawsuit “based on a completely false story.”

The litigation stemmed from a whistleblower case brought by ex-employee Debra Leveski, in which the “whistleblowing” information and legal arguments under the False Claims Act were apparently provided by attorneys Timothy Matusheski and the law firm of Plews Shadley Racher and Braun after the fact.  Matusheski, who runs a website with the domain www.mississippiwhistleblower.com, reportedly trolls for litigants against large, private educational companies, in direct violation of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibiting soliciting professional employment from a prospective client. Leveski was not the only target; Matusheski had two cases pending against similar educational institutions that were ultimately dismissed in other states during the course of this litigation.  “From what the court can gather, Matusheski’s view is that virtually any ex-employee will do for the purposes of manufacturing an FCA lawsuit.” Continue reading »

West Virginia Attorney Suspended for Three Years for Overbilling Clients

 Posted by at 2:30 pm  Overbilling  Comments Off on West Virginia Attorney Suspended for Three Years for Overbilling Clients
Mar 282012
 

{Reported in the West Virginia Record} In early March, attorney Richard Lancianese had his West Virginia Bar License suspended for a term of three years following an investigation into his overbilling practices.  The Lawyer Disciplinary Board found that over a period of 7 years the lawyer had repeatedly “knowingly submitted false [and] inflated bills” to clients. Continue reading »

Legal Fees Totaling Almost 400% of the Victims’ Awards to be Paid by City of Oakland

 Posted by at 10:02 am  Court Decisions  Comments Off on Legal Fees Totaling Almost 400% of the Victims’ Awards to be Paid by City of Oakland
Mar 272012
 

As recently reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the city of Oakland will be forced to pay out over $1M following a civil rights lawsuit stemming from an egregious search and seizure in 2005.  Surprisingly, it’s not the police conduct during the incident that constitutes the most disconcerting part of the story, but rather that $832,639 of the award money is going straight into the plaintiff’s attorneys’ pockets, not to the plaintiffs themselves. Continue reading »

Mets’ Owners Attempt to Include Amount of Trustee’s Legal Fees in Madoff Case

 Posted by at 9:48 am  Court Decisions  Comments Off on Mets’ Owners Attempt to Include Amount of Trustee’s Legal Fees in Madoff Case
Mar 232012
 

On Monday afternoon, the first in a long line of cases stemming from the infamous Madoff ponzi scheme to make it to trial was settled out of court.  Settlement has largely been agreed to by the public as the best option for all involved, as the stakes were high for both sides in the upcoming litigation. Irving Picard, the court appointed Madoff trustee who is currently championing hundreds of lawsuits in attempt to return up to $20 Billion to victims, had just last week filed a request in court seeking to bar all evidence during the trial regarding the legal costs accrued by him and his firm, Baker & Hostetler.  Although it is unknown exactly how much Picard has received for his work on the Madoff case since being appointed trustee in December of 2008, his firm’s most recent fee application spanning June 1 – September 30, 2011 sought legal costs in the amount of $48 Million. Continue reading »

A Moment of (Half) Truth for Legal Billing

 Posted by at 9:33 am  BigLaw  Comments Off on A Moment of (Half) Truth for Legal Billing
Mar 202012
 

Acknowledging the dramatic changes to the legal market over the last few years, an attorney recently wrote an advice column on the blog Above the Law to his fellow lawyers: in a buyer’s market, firms ought to make some concessions to clients.  By not charging clients for the little things, attorneys will garner the goodwill of their existing clients, and attract new ones, or so the wisdom goes. Continue reading »

Study Finds Hourly Billing Rates Increased in 2011

 Posted by at 2:23 pm  BigLaw  Comments Off on Study Finds Hourly Billing Rates Increased in 2011
Mar 142012
 

According to a recent study conducted by the Daily Report, hourly billing continues to be the most common billing model on legal invoices.  Additionally, hourly rates of partners and associates increased in 2011. 

The Daily Report collected approximately 6,000 hourly rates from 2011.  A majority of these rates were collected from Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in five U.S. bankruptcy courts, including the Southern District of New York and the District of Delaware. Continue reading »

Lehman Brothers’ Bankruptcy Bills Rise to $1.6 Billion

 Posted by at 1:36 pm  Bankruptcy  Comments Off on Lehman Brothers’ Bankruptcy Bills Rise to $1.6 Billion
Mar 092012
 

According to a recent article published by CNN Money, Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy legal and other professional fees and expenses have reached $1.6 billion as of January 31, 2012.  The Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy, which is the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, has incurred more than double the fees and expenses that were incurred in the Enron bankruptcy, which is the second largest in history.  Continue reading »

Upland City Council Proposes Revised Billing Guidelines to Control Legal Costs

 Posted by at 8:55 am  Overbilling  Comments Off on Upland City Council Proposes Revised Billing Guidelines to Control Legal Costs
Mar 072012
 

As with many municipalities, the City of Upland, CA believes that in recent years there has been a lack of oversight in legal spending which could eventually land Upland in substantial debt or even bankruptcy.

In response to this challenge the City, plans to meet with its attorneys to review its billing guidelines and practices.   The City’s Legal Sub-Committee will meet with its own attorney as well as the Los Angeles-based law firm, Richards Watson & Gershon, which has been paid almost $8 million in legal fees over the past decade.  The purpose of the meeting will be to analyze and revise the current billing guidelines to ensure that taxpayer money is being used in an “efficient and responsible manner.”  Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 3/2/12

 Posted by at 12:35 pm  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Weekly Wrap Up 3/2/12
Mar 022012
 

A collection of legal fee articles from the past week…

Heller Attorneys’ Fees Ready for Appeal (LegalTimes) – Lead attorney for victorious plaintiff Heller is back in the courtroom, appealing a $1.17 million attorneys’ fee award from the District Court. Alan Gura, of Alexandria’s Gura & Possessky, and Clark Neilly III, from the Institute for Justice today, filed a notice of appeal announcing his intent to ask the Federal Circuit to review the D.D.C opinion.  All this is taking place on the backdrop of settlement negotiations between the District of Columbia and Gura. Neilly confirmed that settlement negotiations are continuing, but that the notice of appeal was filed to ensure their options in court remain open. Heller’s legal team is disputing the reduction from their 3.12 million dollar request, stating the original amount was reasonable based upon the length and complexity of the request. Continue reading »