November 8, 2003

Right Idea. Wrong Lawyer

"...firms "risk becoming poster children
for attorney greed at a time when the
profession is already under attack

Tobacco lawyers to Mass.: we'll sue for the whole $2 billion

Law firms Brown Rudnick Berlack & Israels and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein now say they'll sue the state of Massachusetts for the whole $2 billion they say they're entitled to -- a 25 percent contingency share of the state's $8 billion tobacco-settlement booty -- rather than accept the measly $775 million they've been awarded in arbitration. The Associated Press says the firms "risk becoming poster children for attorney greed at a time when the profession is already under attack for high damage awards. 'This lawsuit is about greed and it's about selfishness. They should be ashamed of themselves,' said former Maine Attorney General James Tierney, who worked with attorneys general from around the country to help negotiate the $246 billion master settlement." ("Law firms go to court to make Massachusetts pay full tobacco legal fee", AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 3; Steve Bailey, "Pigs at the trough", Boston Globe, Oct. 10) For earlier coverage of the Massachusetts fees, see May 19; Jan. 2-3, 2002; Aug. 13-14, 2001; Dec. 22, 1999.


Posted by Vanderleun at November 8, 2003 1:53 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

OK, I have to rise to the defense of my profession. While I am not a fan of the class action litigators (I do transactional work myself), Brown, Rundnick and the others entered into a CONTRACT with Mass AG, who now simply doesn't want to pay. The whole thing is sick - I doubt there has ever been a legal industry in U.S. history that has been the victim of such an enormous and cynical extortion by government. For the attorneys general to now throw accusations of greed at the lawyer who helped them is the height of hypocrisy. The only real argument for voiding a contract of this nature is that the bargaining power of the parties was unequal or there was some mistake of fact. Thus, we must believe that the chief legal agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with the full weight and coercive might of a venerable and commercially important state behind it, was somehow duped or taken advantage of. I say screw 'em - let them pay their share of the loot to the lawyers.

Posted by: Scott Pueschel at November 10, 2003 1:50 PM

Other examples of these animations might be to show the status of an FTP transfer, the progress of media being digitized, or an updated time signature. And don't forget that users may want to have some control over this, so give them plenty of options, including the ability to turn these functions off.

Posted by: Ottewell at January 13, 2004 9:33 AM