Posts Tagged ‘attorneys’ fees’

“Fee Request Found ‘Grossly Inflated’ Denied in Entirety”

“Four law firms that submitted a “grossly inflated” $2.7 million fee request after winning $12,500 for their client should go away empty-handed, a federal judge has ruled. Eastern District Judge Joanna Seybert, sitting in Central Islip, condemned the fee application submitted by real estate investor Robert Toussie’s attorneys, including $2.65 million for Chadbourne & Parke, as ‘outrageously excessive’ and done in ‘bad faith.'” [NYLJ]

Mississippi AG transparency

Peeking under the Hood, cont’d: Mississippi has finally passed sunshine legislation exposing to public scrutiny dealings of its attorney general with outside law firms, which can make large sums in contingency arrangements representing the state [Maggie Haberman, Politico] Not exactly unrelatedly, a Mississippi court has ruled that a settlement of the state’s case against MCI can’t funnel $14 million separately to private lawyers representing Hood on the theory that it was just a side payment and never represented public funds [YallPolitics, earlier on now-disbarred lead private lawyer in case]

June 4 roundup

Cook County jail lockdown settlement

“The Cook County Board on Tuesday agreed to pay more than $1 million in taxpayer money to settle a federal lawsuit brought by female County Jail inmates who said their civil rights were violated during repeated weekend lockdowns at the massive detention facility. The bulk of the settlement — $850,000 — will go to attorneys who represented the four inmates in the nine-year court case. Two inmates won federal judgments totaling $143,000, and the county opted to pay two others $5,000 to end the suit. … In addition to the $1 million settlement, the county spent at least $732,144 over the years to pay an outside firm to defend it against the suit, according to county records.” The plaintiffs had failed in a bid for class action status. [Chicago Tribune]

Clarifying Florida lawyers’ position

According to what seems to be the sense of many in the Florida legal profession, doctors and their patients should not have the right to enter enforceable arbitration agreements before the fact to resolve disputes, but lawyers and their clients should have the right to enter enforceable agreements before the fact to limit liability for excessive charging of legal fees. Thanks for clarifying! [White Coat, scroll; earlier]

When federal defendants settle lawsuits

Jenna Greene reports in the National Law Journal (reg) on the Judgment Fund, an obscure entity within the federal government that last year paid to settle more than 5,000 lawsuits against federal agencies. For the most part, its payouts are not subtracted from agency budgets, and overall dollar figures tend to be dominated by a few special situations such as (most recently) lawsuits by utilities over alleged Energy Department breach of contract for nuclear fuel storage, and by Indian tribes against the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture over financial mismanagement and alleged discrimination. A smaller, but controversial, category of payouts that has attracted Congressional attention consists of settlements with “cause” organizations such as environmentalists that sue to force policy change.

“The strange thing is the lack of transparency,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. “Settlements deserve scrutiny.…There’s no reason why as a public process there shouldn’t be fine-grained disclosure.”

In April, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced the Judgment Fund Transparency Act of 2011, which would require Treasury (unless barred by a court order or law) to make public the names of plaintiffs and counsel, plus a brief description of the facts that gave rise to the payments and a breakdown of principal and attorney fees.

However, Greene reports, the Issa measure has attracted no co-sponsors and is stuck in House Judiciary with no apparent plans for action.

November 26 roundup

  • “Ohio Attorney Sues Over Misleading Emails, Even Though He Wasn’t Misled” [Chris Danzig, Above the Law]
  • Feds say new EPA-ordered fuel economy standards could add $2000 to price of new car [C.J. Ciamarella, Daily Caller] More: WSJ.
  • Las Vegas considers following Chicago’s lenders-must-cut-grass folly [Kevin Funnell, earlier] “The Fed actually does impose, via legal risk, a de facto ceiling on mortgage rates.” [Mark Calabria, Cato]
  • 2nd Circuit: Prison Litigation Reform Act curbs attorney fee shift at 150% of cash won, and yes, that applies to a $1 award [PoL] Panel on attorneys’ fees in class actions at Federalist Society convention [video, PoL]
  • John McClaughry reviews Reckless Endangerment, Morgenson/Rosner book on financial crisis [Reason]
  • Daniel Hannan on John Fonte’s new book on transnational law, Sovereignty or Submission [Telegraph, and see chapters 11-12 of Schools for Misrule] International human rights activism pushes into “economic rights” [James P. Kelly III, Federalist Society “Engage”] NGOs exercise oft-envied combination of power without responsibility [Anderson] UK attorney general Dominic Grieve takes on the European court of human rights [Joshua Rozenberg, Guardian] UN battle plan on non-communicable diseases aims to save us from ourselves;
  • Sans statutory authority, EPA wanders into “environmental justice” [PowerLine]

Wisconsin considers curbing “one-way” attorney fees

American legislatures since the 1970s have widely employed “one-way” fee provisions — under which courts award fees to prevailing plaintiffs, but not to prevailing defendants — as a way of encouraging plaintiffs and their lawyers to bring a maximum of legal action; especially when the fee shifts are generously calculated, such provisions also put strong pressure on defendants to settle potentially defensible cases rather than take the risk of a big fee award that may exceed the sums in controversy. Now Wisconsin lawmakers are thinking of making the playing field a bit more level by reining in one-way awards, especially those that exceed the underlying dispute; another way of approaching the issue, of course, would be to make the shifts two-way. [Rick Esenberg]