Posts tagged as:

bankruptcy

Adventures in bankruptcy and other high-stakes litigation. [Stacy Perman, Fortune]

Big, but not so Easy

by Walter Olson on June 7, 2013

Billing an estate $3,500 for a New Orleans outing doesn’t work out so well for a bankruptcy trustee [IFS Financial Corp. et al v. Smith, S.D. Tex, PDF]

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  • 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] /li>
  • 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]

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It’s behind a paywall, but TortsProf has a few highlights. Some lawyers are battling to stave off transparency that could catch out counsel and clients who tell inconsistent stories from one case to the next in the course of squeezing maximum payouts from bankruptcy trusts set up to handle claims against asbestos defendants; the trusts themselves have extensive managerial ties to leading plaintiff’s-side firms.

P.S. And House hearings [Bloomberg News, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine].

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Good Tim Carney column on the Dems’ absurd posturing in Charlotte on the auto rescue. “Here’s the truth: what Romney proposed for Detroit was more or less what Obama did.” (For extra credit, observe the parallel with some GOPers’ insistence that RomneyCare was utterly dissimilar to ObamaCare in every respect.) More: National Review; Reuters on the Chevy Volt.

Related: Romney’s ridiculous “jobs I’ll create” commercials [Ira Stoll]

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We’ve already mentioned this in the context of the Chrysler bankruptcy (criticized in some quarters for having divested the reorganized company of punitive damage exposure over pre-bankruptcy conduct) but here’s Drug and Device Law gathering up decisions from various states to confirm that, no, there is no vested or constitutional right to punitive damages:

Constitutional challenges have been rejected under due process, taking, jury trial, open courts and various other state constitutional provisions. It makes sense. While compensatory damages might present a closer question (depending on issues such as retroactivity), there’s simply no constitutional right for one private party to demand that another private party be punished.

Especially not when the putative purpose of the damages, to inflict financial distress on the target, has been obviated by an intervening bankruptcy.

December 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 7, 2011

  • Debate on medical malpractice between Ted Frank (Manhattan Institute) and Shirley Svorny (Cato Institute) [PoL]
  • Lawyers, accountants have done well from litigation-ridden Pearlman Ponzi aftermath [Orlando Sentinel]
  • Book drop “inherently dangerous”, says rape victim’s family suing library designers [Florida, LISNews]
  • “The iTunes Class Action Lawsuit You’ll Never Hear About”[NJLRA] “Jackson v. Unocal – Class Actions Find a Welcome Home in Colorado” [Karlsgodt]
  • Another tot accused of sexual harassment, this time a first grader [Boston Herald, earlier (six year old's "assault")]
  • Profile of lawyer who defends fair use of clips for documentary makers [ABA Journal]

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January 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 12, 2011

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$1 billion so far in lawyers’ and other professional fees, and counting. [Reuters]

October 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 9, 2010

  • Update: “Tax Panel Rejects Lawyer’s Bid to Deduct Spending for Sex” [NYLJ, William Barrett/Forbes, earlier] And: “Musings on laws affecting adult entertainment, alcoholic beverages and other ‘vice’ industries” [Meeting the Sin Laws blog]
  • Mississippi: judge jails lawyer for not saying Pledge of Allegiance [Freeland]
  • More on much-written-about Israeli “rape by fraud” case [Volokh, more, earlier here and here]
  • “Tribune bankruptcy talks complicated by emergence of pugnacious hedge fund” [Romenesko; earlier on involvement of hedge funds in bankruptcies]
  • More disturbing tales from Connecticut probate court [Rick Green, Hartford Courant, earlier]
  • Marc Williams of the Defense Research Institute responds to Ted Frank’s criticism of many defense lawyers [PoL]
  • Advice for Australians: to fix your litigation system, look to Germany’s success [Ackland, Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Rep. John Hall (D-N.Y.) & ’70s band Orleans threaten suit against GOP remix ["Orleans Reunion Tour"]

September 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 21, 2010

  • Facing four harassment claims, embattled Philadelphia housing chief files his own suit for $600K+ [Inquirer]
  • “Ohio State Abuses Trademark Law to Suppress a Fan Magazine and Website” [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P]
  • “Judge Dismisses Baltimore Blight Suit Against Wells Fargo, Will Allow Refiling” [ABA Journal]
  • Trial lawyer taking behind-the-scenes hand in Louisiana politics [OpenSecrets via Tapscott]
  • “Are hedge funds abusing bankruptcy?” [Felix Salmon and WSJ]
  • North Carolina alienation-of-affection law strikes again: “’Mistress Ordered to Pay $5.8 Million’ to Wronged Wife” [Volokh, Althouse]
  • “Lawyers take a haircut on a contingency fee in Colorado” [Legal Ethics Forum]
  • ADA lawsuits close another beloved eatery [Stockton, Calif.; six years ago on Overlawyered]

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August 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 12, 2010

  • “Father demands $7.5 million because school officials read daughter’s text message” [KDAF via CALA Houston]
  • How many different defendants can injured spectator sue in Shea Stadium broken-bat case? [Melprophet]
  • Prominent trial lawyer Russell Budd of Baron & Budd hosts Obama at Texas fundraiser [PoL]
  • DNA be damned: when actual nonpaternity doesn’t suffice to get out from under a child support order [Alkon, more]
  • “Sean Coffey, a plaintiffs’ lawyer-turned-candidate for New York Attorney General, made more than $150,000 in state-level campaign contributions nationwide over 10 years.” [WSJ Law Blog] “Days before announcing a shareholder lawsuit against Bank of America, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli accepted $14,000 in campaign donations from a law firm hired to help litigate the case.” [WSJ]
  • Big new RAND Corp. study on asbestos bankruptcy trusts may spur reform [Lloyd Dixon, Geoffrey McGovern & Amy Coombe, PDF, via Hartley, more, Daniel Fisher/Forbes, background here and here] Update: Stier.
  • Public contingency suits? Of course the elected officials are in control (wink, wink) [The Recorder via Cal Civil Justice]
  • Copyright enforcement mill appears to have copied its competitor’s website [TechDirt via Eric Goldman]

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“Pay me now”

by Walter Olson on June 17, 2010

Low-budget ads might seem fitting for a consumer bankruptcy law practice, one supposes:

According to the YouTube-watcher who called this to the attention of reader R.T., “it seems to be a franchise”:

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What a bad precedent it set. [Prof. Bainbridge] More: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, WSJ (via Stoll).

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May 10 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 10, 2010

  • Failure to warn? “Non-Child Sues For Slide-Related Injury” [Lowering the Bar]
  • “AG Cuomo Sues Lawyer for Fraud, Says He Sold His Name to Debt Collector for $141K” [ABA Journal]
  • Ted Frank on his move to the Manhattan Institute and Point of Law [CCAF]
  • “Viacom is becoming a lawsuit company instead of a TV company” [Doctorow, BoingBoing]
  • UK: “NHS pays £10,000 to family of psychiatric patient who committed suicide” [Times Online]
  • American Cancer Society: federal advisory panel’s chemicals-cause-cancer alarms are overblown [NYTimes] More: Taranto, WSJ.
  • “Who Knew Bankruptcy Paid So Well?” [NYTimes]
  • Famed sleuth Bloomberg Holmes on the case: was the Pathfinder headed for a vile sodium den? [IowaHawk]

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March 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 9, 2010

Yes, it’s probably the biggest and most complicated bankruptcy ever. Fees so far: $310,791,000, including $296,631 per day for lead counsel Weil Gotshal. [AmLaw Daily, Business Insider]

“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joan Lloyd ruled Friday that attorney Bruce Atherton and [financier] Randall Scott Waldman ‘blatantly breached’ their duty to the owner of a Louisville tool machinery company by forcing him out of business and seizing his assets. …Atherton was suspended from practicing law last month by the Kentucky Supreme Court based on his guilty plea in September in Pennsylvania federal court to charges that he aided a scheme in which other defendants allegedly ‘busted out’ small businesses by pretending to buy them, then draining their assets before the deals were completed.” [Louisville Courier-Journal via ABA Journal]