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Weekly Wrap Up 10/21/2011

Articles of note on legal fees…

Sooners Accumulating Basketball Legal Fees (ESPN) – The University of Oklahoma has allegedly paid more than $50,000 dollars to the law firm of Bond, Schoenck, and King since 2009 for investigations into their second major recruiting violation in the past 5 years. The firm has a specialty in NCAA compliance issues. The University has already admitted 2 serious violations by an assistant coach, and is having the firm audit the rest of their internal regulations. Although they have already spent over $50,000 dollars on the investigation, it pales in comparison to the over $800,000 spent by Ohio State on investigations based on violations by their football team.

Former Corrections Attorney Seeking Fees (Billings Gazette) – A former attorney for the Department of Corrections in Montana is seeking reimbursement for time she spent on a retaliation claim against the department. Valarie Wilson, who now works for the Department of Transportation, is seeking attorneys’ fees for herself (466 hours), costs she spent on a paralegal, and costs for another attorney. The initial claim, which she was successful on, involved her claim of retaliation for supporting a paralegal who had filed a discrimination complaint against the department. Her success in the suit is not being objected to, but the department does plan to appeal the ruling on attorneys’ fees.

Over 25% of Borders Bankruptcy Billing Sample Found to be Objectionable (Sterling Analytics) – Borders Group, Inc. was a national chain of physical and Internet based book distributors. As a result of its months of missed vendor payments and declining sales, along with $1.29 billion dollars in debts (compared with $1.27 billion in assets), Borders declared chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2011. Sterling Analytics Group, a legal cost consulting firm, audited some of their legal billings filed in the bankruptcy, totaling $468,517.60 in charges. Of these reviewed bills, Sterling Analytics found $117,957.78 in objectionable charges, representing 25.18% of the total billings.

Attorney Criticizes Bill That Would Cap Attorneys’ Fees (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) – In a story recently reported on this blog, a bill is sitting in the Wisconsin legislature capping the amount of attorneys’ fees at treble damages. A Milwaukee attorney is arguing that it would virtually eliminate consumer protection laws. Vince Megna, who handles trial cases on a national level, said the new act would eliminate attorneys who take cases where total damages do not exceed $10,000. He did, however, concede that it may be reasonable on larger cases. State Rep. Rob Vos disagrees, and said the point of the bill is to encourage parties in a law suit to settle.

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