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Attorneys’ Fees Exceed Award in Katrina Wind Damage Case

Penthouse Owners Association was awarded $1.8 million, in a suit against its insurer, in response to a denial of coverage for wind damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. While Penthouse’s lawyers’ requested $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees, the legal team ultimately received a judgment in the amount of $1.9 million, exceeding the jury award for Penthouse’s damages.

United States District Court Judge Sul Ozerden examined the legal bills in a recently filed forty-page opinion. Judge Ozerden lowered the hourly rate of multiple attorneys based on the market rates charged by attorneys located in the same region who are of comparable experience. Given that it took almost five years of litigation for Penthouse to recover its damages, the court believed that an attorneys’ fee award of $1.9 million was reasonable. After factoring in its own legal fees and expenses, it is estimated that the insurance company will pay out about $4.9 million with respect to this case.

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