- “Did law firm use paralegal as honeypot to ensnare opposing counsel in DUI?” [Tampa Bay Times, Fox 13 Tampa Bay, via @tedfrank; ABA Journal (DUI case against lawyer dropped)]
- Bridgeport attorney charged with insurance claims fraud scheme [Connecticut Law Tribune, Courant/INN] Does law firm’s obligation to supervise staff extend to case of legal secretary with gambling habit who made off with $1 million? [Connecticut Law Tribune; Waterbury, Ct.]
- More on the Lorna Brown case [Ted Frank, earlier]
- “Officials: New Mexico DWI attorney came to court drunk” [KOAT, KRWG]
- “Litigation funder feared Chevron case would taint fledgling industry” [Alison Frankel/Reuters, Tom Folkman/Letters Blogatory] Roger Parloff on plaintiffs’ latest try to oust Judge Kaplan from case [Fortune]
- Complaint by ousted attorney alleges lapses at California asbestos law firm Brayton Purcell [Legal NewsLine, NLJ]
- “Case sparked by plaintiffs lawyer? Nothing wrong with that: 7th Circuit” [Alison Frankel]
- “Ten Ways Lawyers Rip Off Clients” [Business Insider]
- Canada: Should an applicant with at least 38 fraud convictions be admitted to practice law? [Windsor Star]
- We’re worth it: lawyers in credit card case want judge to award them $720 million [Alison Frankel, Reuters] Johnson & Johnson will fight $181 million payday for private lawyers in Arkansas Risperdal case [Legal NewsLine]
- British Columbia, Canada: “Lawyer Ordered To Pay Costs Personally For ‘Shoddy Piece Of Counsel Work’” [Erik Magraken] Ontario client questions lawyer’s fee [Law Times]
- Sixth Circuit: attorneys fees statute not intended to cover dry cleaning and mini-blinds [Legal Ethics Forum]
- Indiana lawmaker goes back to drawing board on loser-pays bill [Indiana Law Blog]
- ‘Shocked’ by $3M legal fee in fatal car-crash case, judge tells lawyers to pay plaintiff lawyer $50K [ABA Journal]
- Seth Katsuya Endo, “Should Evidence of Settlement Negotiations Affect Attorneys’ Fees Awards?” [SSRN via Legal Ethics Forum]
- In Israel, more of a discretionary loser-pays arrangement [Eisenberg et al, SSRN via @tedfrank]
- British cabbie beats ticket, recovers only some of his legal costs. Still better than he’d do here, right? [Daily Mail]
- Turnaround guru Wilbur Ross: current structure of bankruptcy fees encourages lawyer “hyperactivity” [Reuters]
“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]
The San Jose Mercury-News has an investigative series. Among the highlights: “At some point, this endless wasting of Danny Reed’s trust assets must stop,” said Judge Franklin Bondonno, throwing out $30,000 in fees billed to the special needs trust of a 37-year-old brain-damaged man, and regretting that he could not reach $145,000 previously billed. The “judge — in a highly unusual gesture — implored a higher court to overturn his decision.” Among recurring problems: “fee on fee” billing in which lawyers charge fees to persons under conservatorship for the legal effort expended in defending earlier fee bills. [editorial and links to articles in the series]
- “After drunken driver kills son, mother billed for cleanup” [Greenville News, S.C.]
- Cities, states and school districts in California will be among losers if Sacramento lawmakers pass bill authorizing phantom damages [Capitol Weekly; more on phantom damages]
- New from Treasury Dept.: steep exit fees for many corporations departing U.S. domicile [Future of Capitalism, TaxProf]
- Jonathan Lee Riches is back filing his hallucinatory lawsuits again, and courts don’t care to stop him [Above the Law] More: Lowering the Bar.
- Funny 1988 letter from Wyoming lawyer to California lawyer about fees [Letters of Note via Abnormal Use]
- L.A. family is considering adding another valedictorian lawsuit to our annals [L.A. Times, earlier]
- Effort to compensate Japanese nuclear accident victims is proceeding without much litigation [WaPo]
Some law firms set up a separate business to run their conference rooms, enabling them to charge the rooms out for client meetings rather than treat them as overhead. And watch out for hefty charges for the time spent preparing the client’s bill itself. [Dan Fisher, Forbes]
Criticism continues to mount (“shameful,” “excessive”) over lawyers’ effort to nab $223 million in fees for representing Indian tribes’ interest in the long-running Cobell litigation over management of trust funds. [BLT (quoting former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.), and more (DoJ); PoL; earlier here and here (Kilpatrick Stockton lawyer Keith Harper considered for Tenth Circuit appointment)]
Overlawyered readers are well aware of the sorry history of the fen-phen litigation; those that aren’t are advised to check out Professor Lester Brickman’s summary.
In April 2008, the Diet Drugs MDL district court awarded $567 million the class counsel in that case, basing the award in part on representations by class counsel about future class recovery. A year later, a plaintiff’s attorney requested the court reopen the question of the fee award because the class counsel had exaggerated those estimates. The district court refused, holding that the one-year delay in bringing the Rule 60(b) motion was not a “reasonable time.” There has been an appeal to the Third Circuit, and, today, the Center for Class Action Fairness filed an amicus brief in support of the appeal that itself provides a short overview of the history of the fen-phen MDL. Many thanks to Chris Arfaa for his generous help in filing the brief.
Massachusetts’s highest court thought it a bit much that fees and costs would eat up $800,000 from an estate valued at $1.2 million, or two-thirds of the value at stake. [Robert Ambrogi, Legal Blog Watch; Above the Law]
Incidentally, Robert Ambrogi is hanging up his keyboard after an impressive four-year tenure at Law.com’s Legal Blog Watch, but he’ll continue to maintain his other sites. He has kind words for this site as one to “follow religiously”, too.