ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

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

Smoking Via, 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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