Law Firms Win Right to Charge $35000-an-Hour in Class Action Suit | | Thomson/Reuters |9/21/12

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The law firms Prickett, Jones & Elliott of Wilmington and Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check of Radnor, Pennsylvania are two firms were poised to collect a blockbuster $305 million in legal fees for their work on a lawsuit, after Delaware’s Supreme Court declined to consider a challenge to the payout.

The fee was awarded in December for plaintiffs’ attorneys who brought a shareholder lawsuit on behalf of Southern Copper Corp. The lawsuit was what is known as a derivative suit. The shareholders sued on behalf of the company and the judgment will not be paid directly to stockholders but to Southern Copper.

The court’s chief judge, Leo Strine, calculated the fee as 15 percent of the $2 billion judgment said the fee was meant as an incentive for lawyers to achieve good outcomes for their clients.

The judgment is due immediately, said plaintiffs’ attorney Ronald Brown of Prickett Jones in a voicemail message left with Reuters. He said after 20 days if the judgment is not paid, it can be satisfied by canceling shares of Southern Copper stock held by Grupo Mexico.

An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible, but unlikely. The judgment is increasing by $212,000 a day due to interest costs, according to court records.

The fee award had set off a protest among critics of trial lawyers, who pointed out it amounted to $35,000 an hour, or about 10 times the going rate in class actions with similar-sized judgments or settlements. Examples of other large fee awards in U.S. cases include fees and expenses of $688 million for plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Enron Corp class actions, and $493 million for attorneys in the Tyco International class actions.

Read more on UPDATE 1-Del. Supreme Court Won’t Revisit Record $305 Mln Attorneys’ Fee


About vinhsu

Center City Philadelphia General Practice Law Firm with emphasis on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Real Property, and Wills/Trusts/ Estate Planning. Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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