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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jury to get lawyer's claim for share of tobacco fees

Smoking Via Law.com, the New York Law Journal is reporting that a jury will get to decide an attorney’s claim to a slice of an $84 million legal fee.

The lawyer, H. Neal Connolly, resigned from his firm to take a job with the State Insurance Fund, just a month before it became one of the six firms retained by New York to represent it in tobacco litigation.  When the state agreed to a $25 billion settlement, the lawyers got a total of $625 million in legal fees (about $13,000 an hour), out of which Connolly’s former firm got $84 million.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Benza of Albany ruled that Connolly’s partnership had ended before the firm was retained, but said a jury could nevertheless determine whether it was a "work in progress" at the time of his departure.

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