Drinker Biddle & Reath has won a hard-fought $1.78 million fee award from a Pennsylvania state court jury in a bet-the-company patent litigation case. A recent article, "Drinker Biddle Wins $1.78 M Bill Battle; Firm Clocked 5,225 Hours in 3 Months" reports that AgriZap Inc. retained Drinker Biddle & Reath in 2006 to handle a patent dispute concerning its "Rat Zapper" and struck an unusual fee deal with the law firm. If the AgriZap lost, it would have 18 months to pay the Drinker Biddle legal bill. And if the case was a trial winner, the law firm would get triple its legal fees, plus costs.
After AgriZap won a $2.7 million jury verdict, Drinker Biddle's $5 million legal bill arrived. The article reports, "Under the fee agreement, the law firm was apparently entitled to payment of triple its hourly charges regardless of how much the client won at trial. The court upheld the fee agreement, and the jury awarded Drinker Biddle exactly what it sought. However, it appears that the bill battle could be revving up for at least another round or two. In post-trial relief, AgriZap is contending, among other arguments, that the law firm breached its fiduciary duty by entering into an unfair fee agreement and that the jury was not properly instructed to consider the reasonableness of the amount sought".