Thursday, December 24, 2009
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has issued its decision in the litigation between Douglas Rosenthal and his former firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. The case involves a dispute primarily over fees for representation against Libya arising out of the destruction of Pam Am 103 over Lockerbie. The trial court had awarded Rosenthal $3.7 million in compensatory damages. The firm won an award against Rosenthal and his new firm for tortious interference.
At issue were claims for compensatory damages for two periods of time. The court held that the jury was presented with sufficient evidence that the firm had been "unevenhanded and thus unreasonable" in setting compensation for the second period. Rosenthal's retirement did not preclude him from suing the firm. The evidence was insufficient to award punitive damages against the firm.
The court remanded for a new trial on compensatory damages for the second time period. and reversed the award to the firm on the tortious interference claim. Rosenthal was given the option of a new trial on compensatory damages or accepting an award as reduced by the court's opinion.
The decision can be accessed through the court's web page (Rosenthal v SNR) and was decided today. (Mike Frisch)