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Courts Call Upon Fee Examiners in Large Chapter 11 Cases

May 6, 2024

A recent Law.com story by Dan Roe, “Nickel and Dimed: Fee Examiners More Common Amid Rise in Contentious”, reports that, within weeks of being ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to appoint an independent examiner to the bankruptcy of fraudulent cryptocurrency exchange FTX, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey of the District of Delaware issued a related order of his own.  Starting in early February, Dorsey ordered the appointment of fee examiners in all Chapter 11 cases before him where assets and/or liabilities exceeded $50 million—the threshold for “larger Chapter 11 cases,” according to the Office of the U.S. Trustee.

While the U.S. Trustee Program provides for the use of fee examiners in such cases, examiners aren’t required and frequently aren’t appointed in pre-packaged bankruptcies and cases that aren’t particularly contentious.  However, a rise in bankruptcies involving fraud and mass tort litigation is causing more bankruptcy lawyers to face scrutiny over their billing practices.  “Fee examiners have become more prevalent recently because of very significant bankruptcy cases seeking recompense for alleged abuses,” said J. Scott Bovitz, a Los Angeles attorney who represents fee examiner Nancy Rapoport in bankruptcy court.

For instance, fee examiners have lopped six- and seven-figure amounts off of recent cryptocurrency bankruptcies such as Celsius, Voyager and BlockFi as well as recent bankruptcies involving tort claims such as Boy Scouts of America, fire protection company Kidde-Fenwal and LTL Management, a company formed to divert Johnson & Johnson’s tort liability over cancer attributed to the company’s talcum powder.  In their assessments of Big Law bills, fee examiners look for duplicate and redundant tasks, block or “lumped” billing, vague time entries, staffing inefficiencies, excessive expenses and more.

“I always tell professionals that my goal is not to reduce anyone’s fees because everyone did everything perfectly,” said Robert Keach, a fee examiner and the co-chair of the bankruptcy practice at Maine law firm Bernstein Shur.  “I haven’t found that case yet.”  According to Keach, most fee examinations end up taking 5% to 7% off of a legal bill, although some recent cases have been higher. In July, Dorsey cut roughly $1 million in fees off Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s $6 million tab for its work restructuring a California luxury hotel owner.  “It is not the Court’s job to piece together entries and try to make sense of them.  Each entry must be capable of evaluation on its own.  Many of Pillsbury’s entries are not,” Dorsey wrote.

Fee examiners also come at a cost to the estate, although Keach noted that the costs of examining fees are almost always offset by the reduction of professional fees resulting from examiners’ work.  In a December fee application for the BlockFi bankruptcy, examiner Elise Frejka, a New York-based solo practitioner, requested a total of $168,500 for 269 hours of work billed at an hourly rate of $675.

The biggest reductions in recent fee examinations sometimes came from firms that billed smaller amounts than those of debtor’s counsel. Representing debtor Kidde-Fenwal, Sullivan & Cromwell agreed to roughly $100,000 in fee reductions for vague and repetitive time entries and potentially unnecessary attendance levels at board meetings and on calls.

However, while Sullivan & Cromwell billed roughly $9 million in the bankruptcy, Brown Rudnick lost even more money to the fee examiner despite billing less than $6 million representing the creditors committee.  The firm was docked for vague time entries, “certain junior associate time,” potential duplication and overlap of tasks, unnecessary attendance levels and other miscellaneous issues with time entries.

Rapoport, a fee examiner and a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said she doesn’t believe law firms are intentionally inflating their fees so much as not exercising adequate billing judgment.  “What I do see is a combination of two problems: bad billing hygiene, such as block-billing, vague entries, and rounded hours, which is often improved after a few conversations with a fee examiner, and the use of more senior billers to do more junior work than they should be doing,” Rapoport said.  “I also find that the weekly ‘all hands on deck’ meetings need to be able to justify why each professional is in the room.”

In other recent bankruptcies, law firms escaped with 100% of their fees intact, although such firms had already offered discounts for time spent preparing fee applications and “transitory” timekeepers who billed less than five hours in a given month.  In the BlockFi bankruptcy, Kirkland & Ellis made out with 99.9% of its fees intact, while the examiner granted the full requested amounts to Cole Schotz and Haynes and Boone.

SCOTUS to Define ‘Prevailing Party’ for Attorney Fee Awards

April 22, 2024

A recent Law.com story by Jimmy Hoover, “Justices to Examine Meaning of ‘Prevailing Party’ in Attorney Fee Disputes”, reports that, to those who follow legal news, it’s not uncommon to see parties declaring victory after a court decision that seems to go against them.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was criticized last week for doing just that on social media last week after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed takings litigation to proceed against the state over property flooding caused by a highway barrier.

Usually, the stakes of such episodes involve little more than attorneys’ egos and their win-loss records.  But an appeal taken up by the Supreme Court shows that deciding after litigation has concluded which side is the “prevailing party” can affect more than just bragging rights but real dollars and cents in the form of attorney fees.

The high court granted certiorari, or review, in Lackey v. Stinnie, an appeal by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, which is now on the hook for potentially more than $1 million in legal fees from plaintiffs who had secured a preliminary injunction against the DMV in a civil rights lawsuit.  The agency’s petition raises two questions for the justices, which will hear the dispute next term.

The first is whether a party “must obtain a ruling that conclusively decides the merits in its favor,” rather than just a preliminary injunction, to obtain attorney fees in a civil rights suit under Section 1988 of the 1976 Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Award Act.  The second is whether the parties’ legal relationship must change through a “judicial act” or whether a nonjudicial event mooting the case is enough to obtain fees under the statute.

The case, the DMV has said, could affect who’s eligible for attorney fees in a number of other areas, as well, such as trademark infringement, voting rights and disability discrimination, where fee-shifting laws use the phrase “prevailing party.”  In their putative class action against the DMV, a number of plaintiffs with past criminal convictions accused the agency of violating their rights by automatically suspending their licenses over court fees they could not afford to pay.

The plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction from the district court blocking state officials from enforcing the Virginia law against them, as the judge concluding they were likely to succeed on the merits of their procedural due process claim.  As the case proceeded to trial, the litigation was delayed and ultimately rendered moot by the Virginia General Assembly, which suspended and later repealed the law in question after public pushback.

The plaintiffs’ original request for attorney fees was rejected, but on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc.  The court’s 7-4 ruling held that, “When a preliminary injunction provides the plaintiff concrete, irreversible relief on the merits of her claim and becomes moot before final judgment because no further court-ordered assistance proves necessary, the subsequent mootness of the case does not preclude an award of attorney’s fees.”

In its certiorari petition to the Supreme Court in November, the DMV said the standard for obtaining attorneys’ fees under Section 1988 “presents multiple circuit splits” and the case is one of importance that the Supreme Court should resolve.  “[A]ttorney’s fees in civil rights cases often impose substantial financial burdens on state governments,” the DMV wrote in its petition filed by lawyers from the Virginia attorney general’s office and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

“Plaintiffs have already requested an award of more than $767,000 in appellate fees alone,” the petition stated.  “Their total fee request likely will run into the millions of dollars, considering the years of litigation in the district court.”  Further, the state agency wrote, “the risk of large, unpredictable fee awards will deter States from voluntarily altering allegedly unlawful behavior.”

The term “prevailing party” is also peppered throughout many fee-shifting statutes, so the issue is one that could affect attorneys’ fees in the areas of trademark law, disability discrimination and voting rights, the state added.  “[T]he effect of the term’s interpretation is sweeping,” the petition stated.

The plaintiffs had asked the court to pass on the case, denying there was any split “requiring this Court’s resolution.”  They wrote that the earlier injunction in the case was “on the merits” and “materially altered the legal relationship between the parties.”  “Respondents are prevailing parties and would be in every circuit,” stated the brief in opposition, filed by lawyers at McGuire Woods.  Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled in the case. The court is expected to render its decision by the end of June 2025.

Article: Defense Strategy in Copyright Fee-Shifting Litigation

March 29, 2024

A recent Law 360 article by Hugh Marbury and Molly Shaffer, “A Defense Strategy For Addressing Copyright Fee-Shifting”, reports on case strategy in copyright fee-shifting litigation.  This article was posted with permission.  The article reads:

Unlike in Europe, litigants in the U.S. are generally responsible for paying their own attorney fees. Limited exceptions to the American rule exist.  For example, subject to the court's discretion, prevailing parties in Section 1983 patent and copyright litigation are eligible to recover attorney fees.

Although permissive fee-shifting is not isolated to copyright matters, copyright defendants face unique challenges because of the outsized impact Section 505 of the Copyright Act has on the economic incentive structure in all copyright litigation.  Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 68 could neutralize the omnipresent threat of Section 505 and serve as a mechanism for copyright defendants to recover post-offer attorney fees incurred.

In 2014, the American Law Institute launched a project for developing the first Restatement of the Law, Copyright.  More than 175 elected American Law Institute members — consisting of judges, law professors and experienced copyright practitioners — have spent several years drafting the restatement.  The restatement surveys copyright law as it is applied today, including the conflicting case law regarding fee-shifting and Rule 68.  In addition to the impending restatement, the U.S. Supreme Court has demonstrated some interest in copyright issues.

In Warner Chappell Music Inc. v. Sherman Nealy, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument Feb. 21 to determine the relationship between the discovery accrual rule and the statute of limitations provision contained in Title 17 of the U.S. Code, Section 507(b).  The intersection between Rule 68 and Section 505 is another unclear area of copyright law where copyright lawyers could benefit from the Supreme Court's guidance.

The Intersection Between Rule 68 and Section 505

The U.S. Congress and courts have struggled with economic drivers in copyright cases, the subject matter of which can range anywhere from a single infringing photograph to massive copyright disputes regarding new and emerging software algorithms.  In December 2020, Congress addressed one end of the economic spectrum in the copyright ecosystem by establishing the Copyright Claims Board.

The CCB is a three-member tribunal, which serves as an alternative forum for smaller copyright disputes up to $30,000.  The CCB, while still in its infancy, does nothing to address the pressures associated with fee-shifting in all federal copyright cases, however.  Section 505 permits the "prevailing party" to recover its reasonable attorney fees as part of costs incurred. Unlike in patent cases, where fee-shifting is limited to exceptional cases, there is no such statutory limitation in Section 505.

Without any guidance as to when attorney fees may be awarded under Section 505, copyright plaintiffs threaten attorney fees early and often in settlement negotiations.  The threat of fee-shifting significantly affects the alleged infringer's bargaining power and resolve in defending the case.  Regardless of whether Congress intended Section 505 to provide significant leverage to plaintiffs and shift the focus from the merits of the litigation to the costs associated therewith, the reality is that Section 505 heavily affects settlement negotiations.

Rule 68 was designed to encourage settlement.  Enacted in 1946, Rule 68 permits a defendant to serve an offer of judgment on an opposing party at any point until 14 days before the trial date.  The offeree then has 14 days to accept the offer. If the offeree does not accept the offer within 14 days, the offer is considered withdrawn.  If the final judgment is not more favorable than the unaccepted offer, the offeree must pay the defendant's costs incurred after the offer was made.

Rule 68 is overlooked and underutilized because costs are often insubstantial in most litigation. However, where costs may be inclusive of attorney fees — in Section 505 — Rule 68 is a powerful tool that could minimize the threat of Section 505 in settlement negotiations by weakening the copyright holder's claim to its fees and allow defendants to collect attorney fees incurred after the offer.

In Marek v. Chesny in 1985, the Supreme Court interpreted Rule 68 in connection with a Section 1983 fee-shifting claim.  In Marek, the Supreme Court confirmed that all costs "properly awardable under the relevant substantive statute" fall within the scope of Rule 68.  Where the underlying statute includes attorney fees in its definition of costs, attorney fees are properly awardable under Rule 68.  Section 505 expressly provides that "the court may also award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs."

The forthcoming restatement of the law copyright has addressed this topic.  Although not yet published, the American Law Institute has approved various chapters of the restatement, including the chapter discussing remedies. Comment (h) to the restatement's chapter on remedies acknowledges that Rule 68 affects Section 505.  The restatement discusses the Supreme Court's decision in Marek and presents the competing case law regarding when a copyright defendant is eligible to collect its post-offer attorney fees under Rule 68.

Defensive Strategy: Reining in Overly Aggressive Copyright Plaintiffs

Rule 68 can prevent plaintiffs from recovering attorney fees under Section 505.  Neutralizing the threat of Section 505 shifts the economic structure of the litigation and refocuses the parties' attention on the merits of the action.

Courts are granted broad discretion to award attorney fees under Section 505 and should engage in a "particularized, case-by-case assessment."  Nonexclusive factors for consideration include frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness, and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence.  Courts should give substantial weight to the objective reasonableness of the losing party's position, while still giving "due consideration to all other circumstances relevant to granting fees."

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court recently rejected the opportunity to clarify further the appropriate standard for awarding attorney fees under Section 505 in Hasbro Inc., et al. v. Markham Concepts Inc.  A reasonable but unaccepted Rule 68 offer does not operate a wholesale bar to a plaintiff's recovery of fees, but defendants should urge courts to consider an offer of judgment as a "circumstance relevant to granting fees."

An unaccepted offer of judgment may trigger several of the nonexclusive factors.  For example, failing to accept a reasonable Rule 68 offer could indicate that a plaintiff's motivation in the litigation is to obtain a windfall.

Relatedly, a plaintiff's failure to come down to a realistic settlement figure could show that the plaintiff presented an unreasonable litigation position.  Moreover, prolonged litigation — a result of an unaccepted Rule 68 offer — could reflect a plaintiff's intent to rack up attorney fees for both parties.  Each of these arguments could serve as a basis for the court to reject a plaintiff's Section 505 request.

Although the exact impact of Rule 68 is unclear in the copyright fee-shifting context, defendants could benefit from making creative arguments grounded in Rule 68 principles in attempt to equalize the bargaining power in copyright infringement negotiations.

Offensive Strategy: Maximize Recovery Opportunity

Circuits are split on the more difficult questions regarding when a defendant may recover attorney fees after an unaccepted offer of judgment.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held in Jordan v. Time Inc. in 1997 that the copyright defendant was entitled to costs, including attorney fees, following an unaccepted offer of judgment that was more favorable than the damages awarded.  The court relied upon the mandatory language in Rule 68 and determined that the mandatory costs included attorney fees incurred after the Rule 68 offer.

Other circuits, however, have rejected Jordan, and require that the defendant also be the prevailing party to earn attorney fees incurred after the Rule 68 offer.  Applying Marek, those circuits have generally concluded that attorney fees must be properly awardable under the substantive statute to fall within Rule 68.

Under Section 505, attorney fees are only available to the prevailing party, and therefore, some courts have held that the defendant must be the prevailing party to recover post-offer attorney fees.  What exactly a prevailing party is remains elusive.  Because of the interplay between Rule 68 and Section 505, it seems possible that a defendant could recover post-offer attorney fees.  The Eleventh Circuit considered this argument in February in Affordable Aerial Photography Inc. v. Trends Realty USA Corp.

In that case, the defendant served an offer of judgment, which was not accepted, and the plaintiff later voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2).  Although the court held that Rule 68 was inapplicable, it is conceivable that a copyright defendant could recover post-offer attorney fees under different facts.

What's Next?

Rule 68 and Section 505 certainly overlap, but exactly how they interact is less than clear.

Copyright practitioners would benefit from the Supreme Court's guidance on if and how Rule 68 affects permissive fee-shifting.  The Supreme Court has shown renewed interest in copyright cases generally, having reviewed fair use in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts v. Goldsmith last May and the timing of damages in Warner Chappell Music Inc. v. Sherman Nealy in February.

Given the Supreme Court's recent interest in copyright issues and the many billions of dollars potentially at stake in attorney fees — particularly in the massive artificial intelligence copyright cases being filed in all circuits — the Supreme Court should give guidance on the relationship between Rule 68 and Section 505.  But all copyright defendants should seriously consider the role of Rule 68 in their litigation strategy.

Hugh Marbury is a partner and co-chair of the copyright practice at Cozen O'Connor.  Molly Shaffer is an associate at the firm.

Tenth Circuit Orders Attorney Fee Do-Over in PLRA Settlement

March 28, 2024

A recent Law 360 story by Ryan Harroff, “10th Circ. Orders Atty Fee Redo in Excessive Force Settlement”, reports that a Tenth Circuit panel has ruled that attorney fees prisoners can recover are not capped by federal law, saying that a Kansas prisoner should have gotten more money in his excessive force settlement with the state's highway patrol.

According to the three-judge panel's Tuesday opinion, the Kansas Highway Patrol officers and the other affiliated law enforcement officials named in Samuel Lee Dartez II's excessive force suit failed to establish that their offer of judgment did not waive the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act's limits on hourly attorney fee rates or the total value of fee awards in prisoner suits. The officers similarly did not establish that their offer waived the law's mandate that Dartez contribute to his lawyers' fees himself.

The panel affirmed two aspects of the lower court's ruling and reversed the imposition of the hourly rate cap, stating that all statutory obligations and limits for the fee award had been waived by the parties.

The majority said the officers' offer of judgment was ambiguous as to whether it waived the PLRA's effect on the fee award, which totaled more than $576,000 in the end. The majority said ambiguity in the offer of judgment must cut against the law enforcement officials because they were the ones who put it together.

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Allison H. Eid wrote a separate concurring opinion stating that she agreed with affirming the lower court's determinations that the statutory ceiling on Dartez's fee award and his obligation to contribute do not apply under the offer of judgment. She also agreed with reversing the imposition of an hourly rate cap on his fee calculation. But she disagreed with the majority that the offer of judgment was ambiguous.

According to Judge Eid, the offer of judgment did not actually waive the PLRA. The lower court's decision should be affirmed in part while reversing the portion that imposed the hourly rate cap, she said, as the officers failed to properly argue for their interpretation of the offer of judgment's wording.

Central to the dispute is the phrase "fees and costs," according to the panel. The offer of judgment states Dartez will get $60,000 "plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs allowed by law, if any," and whether the words "allowed by law" apply to both the fees and the costs or just the costs is the major sticking point that led Judge Eid to disagree with the majority.

The majority said that the lower court relied on what is called the "last-antecedent rule," invoked by the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Barnhart v. Thomas , which reversed a Third Circuit ruling for misreading part of the Social Security Act to stretch certain requirements for benefit claimants beyond their intended scope. By that standard, the majority said "allowed by law" only applies to costs for Dartez's case, not both the fees and the costs.

Judge Eid said the last-antecedent rule does not work that way for the offer of judgment because "fees and costs" is generally understood to refer to both fees and costs together when used in a legal context. She stated that the majority and the district court were wrong to say that the offer of judgment can be read as honoring legal limits on Dartez's costs while waiving those limits on his fees.

"The phrase 'fees and costs' is best understood as a unified phrase, not as two items in a short list," Judge Eid said. "It is so ubiquitous a phrase that it scarcely warrants citation."

All three judges agreed that whether fees and costs are separate or joined does not actually weigh on their decision in Dartez's case, however, because the officers did not actually argue with the lower court's reading of the phrase.

David Seely, counsel for Dartez, told Law360 Wednesday that he was "very pleased to get that ruling," and he thought both opinions served as an "interesting grammar lesson." Overall, he said he hopes the Tenth Circuit's ruling will push government entities to more directly spell out their intentions in the future.

"If lawyers representing a governmental entity want to have the restrictions contained in the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act apply to an offer of judgment, they need to be very clear about that and do so expressly rather than relying on what are, at best, vague and ambiguous terms and then coming in and saying that the PLRA precludes the recovery of the attorneys fees that are referred to in the offer of judgment," Seely said.

Judge Needs More Data in $57M Antitrust Fee Request

March 27, 2024

A recent Law 360 story by Celeste Bott, “Ill. Judge Needs More Info To OK $57M Chicken Antitrust Fee”, reports that an Illinois federal judge overseeing a sprawling antitrust litigation against broiler chicken producers said he couldn't rule on class counsel's renewed bid for a $57 million attorney fee award thrown out by the Seventh Circuit last year without more information on one of the firm's graduated fee arrangements in a similar 2015 antitrust case, which wasn't disclosed in the first go-around.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said during a remote hearing that he wanted more briefing from the both plaintiffs' firms — Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC — and from class objector John Andren as to what effect the 2015 case has had in assessing the attorney fee award in the $181 million deal for chicken buyers.

In the earlier case, Cohen Milstein took on some of the nation's largest investment banks while representing the Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago, a sophisticated plaintiff which negotiated attorney fees ex ante, or ahead of case resolution.

In that case, the plaintiff adopted a graduated scale.  If the same scale were to be used in the chicken case, class counsel estimated they would be entitled to $44 million for the $181 million settlement, or roughly 26%.  But the counsel argued they would have negotiated a higher rate in the broiler chicken case because it doesn't involve a trillion-dollar financial market.

Andren, meanwhile, said Judge Durkin should apply a similar fee schedule agreed to by Chicago Teachers, which entail fee brackets that decline both by the size of the settlement and by the stage of settlement.

"The latter is as important as the former, because sophisticated plaintiffs realize that trials are expensive and risky," Andren said in his opposition to the firms' renewed bid for a $57 million fee award in the chicken case.  "To align the incentives of class and counsel, attorneys need to receive a larger share of the recovery for more procedurally-advanced settlements and verdicts. This cannot occur when relatively early settlements are paid at 33%."  Judge Durkin also noted Tuesday that both are large, complex antitrust cases with many defendants and astronomical damages.  "There's enough similarities where I want to hear from both sides," he said.

The law firms, however, have contended "there is an ocean" between the size of the potential recovery, and potential fee awards, in both cases, and noted that in the chicken case, they represent indirect purchasers, which increases the risk relative to the banking cases.

"Indirect purchasers face defendant attacks that direct purchasers do not, and these attacks increase the chance of waking away with nothing.  And even though they take on this additional risk, the total damages indirect purchasers can recover based on state law claims is about half of what direct purchasers can recover for their federal claims," the firms said in a renewed fee motion filed in September 2023.

In that motion, they argued the court applied the correct methodology for determining fees the first time and came to the correct conclusion in awarding just over 33% of the settlement fund.  "Not only does the original award align with other awards in this specific case, it also aligns with the best available data on negotiated rates in antitrust cases," the class counsel said.  The fee award is back for reconsideration by Judge Durkin after the Seventh Circuit held last year that he failed to adequately consider bids made by class counsel in auctions in other cases and fee awards in different circuits.

Andren had taken issue with the roughly one-third cut of the settlement that Hagens Berman and Cohen Milstein were to receive in a deal the firms had struck with Fieldale Farms Corp., Peco Foods Inc., George's Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim's Pride Corp. and Mar-Jac Poultry.

Private plaintiffs began suing the nation's largest broiler-chicken producers in September 2016, claiming the producers coordinated and limited chicken production to raise prices and exchanged detailed information about capacity, sales volume and other data through statistical research compiler Agri Stats Inc.

The settlements at issue in this appeal were reached with Tyson for $99 million, Pilgrim's for $75.5 million, Peco for $1.9 million, George's for $1.9 million, Fieldale for $1.7 million and Mar-Jac for $1 million.  The agreements were awarded final approval by a district judge in December 2021.

A three-judge Seventh Circuit panel complimented the lower court in August 2023 for its "fine job of shepherding" the complex litigation, but said it made a mistake when it discounted bids made by one of the two firms serving as class counsel in other cases because the proposals had declining fee scale award structures.

Andren had also argued that the lower court should have taken into account that class counsel frequently did work in Ninth Circuit district courts, which employ a lower 25% "benchmark" for presumptively reasonable attorney fees.  The Seventh Circuit panel agreed the Illinois district judge shouldn't have categorically assigned less weight to Ninth Circuit cases in which counsel was awarded fees under a mega-fund rule.  In addition to vacating the fee award, the panel remanded the matter for "greater explanation and consideration" of the factors it laid out, noting it expressed no preference as to the amount or structure of the award, just the need for further review.

Big Law Bets on Contingency Fee Practices

March 21, 2024

A recent Law.com story by Abgail Adcox, “Big Law Takes Bigger Bet on Contingency Fee Practices”, reports that, in a quest to maximize profitability, Am Law 200 law firms have grown their share of...

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