The Miller Park stadium district sued Mitsubishi Heavy Industries over alleged defects in construction of the structure’s roof, and Mitsubishi filed a counterclaim. The case was settled a year ago for a $45 million payment between the main parties; now-unsealed court documents indicate that the parties rang up at least $37 million in legal fees. An attorney employed by insurer Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, which is contesting some of the bills, says millions were spent on consultants and engineers with no detailed descriptions of the work performed. As for the lawyers’ own bills, “Some of the billing entries that have been disclosed are so outrageous they leave no doubt that the bills were never reviewed carefully, even by the firms submitting them,” wrote Katherine Stadler, [another] Travelers attorney. “A charge specifically labeled ‘do not charge client,’ time billed to bring the lawyers lunch, a $5,000 charge for one hour of expert work, and a bill for purchases at a Japanese souvenir shop are only a few examples.”
Several attorneys involved in the case, however, describe the fees and expenses as neither excessive nor disproportionate. “John Hinderaker, a Minneapolis attorney who helped defend the stadium district, said the ‘district bought a completely successful defense of an $87 million claim.” Unless there is another Minneapolis attorney of the same name, that would be the same attorney John Hinderaker who publishes the much visited PowerLine blog. (Don Walker, “Legal fees in Miller Park case go through the roof “, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mar. 4) (via Marquette lawprof Rick Esenberg, who describes the billing in the case as “a tsunami of fees” (Mar. 5) which may however reflect the unfolding logic of expense in big lawsuits rather than anyone’s having been “dishonest or cavalier about the clients’ money”).