Is It Possible That Attorneys Churn Bills?

Hand in hand with legal malpractice cases are attorney fee cases.  We've commented that attorney fee disputes are of  biblical proportion, and have existed as long.  Today's New York Law Journal reports that "DLA Piper Emails Reveal Firm Overbilled, Former Client Says"

In an article written by Christine Simmons, she reports that internal e-mails from DLA Piper are being used in an attorney fee dispute, and are said to show intentional and gleeful churning of a bankruptcy representation bill.  "According to court papers, Thomson replied to Eisenegger and Johnson: "What was our estimate? But Tim [Walsh] brought Vince [Roldan] [two other DLA Piper attorneys working on POA] in to work on the objection for whatever reason, and now Vince has random people working full time on random research projects in standard 'churn that bill, baby!' mode. That bill shall know no limits."

Thomson, who no longer works at DLA Piper, could not be reached for comment.

Roldan was a senior associate at DLA Piper who now practices at Vandenberg & Feliu, according to the firm's website. He did not return a call for comment.

Eisenegger, Johnson and Walsh are now all partners at McDermott Will & Emery. They did not return calls for comment. McDermott spokesman Christopher Rieck declined to comment.

Victor claims in his papers that Eisenegger, Thomson and Johnson continue the email thread, "with each joking about how many attorneys were over-staffed on the POA file and how little work those attorneys actually accomplished."

According to the attached exhibits, Thomson writes to Eisenegger and Johnson, "DLA seems to love to low ball the bills and with the number of bodies being thrown at this thing, it's going to stay stupidly high and with the absurd litigation POA has been in for years, it does have lots of wrinkles."

Johnson allegedly replied: "Didn't you use 3 associates to prepare for a first day hearing where you filed 3 documents?"

Thomson allegedly responded to Johnson and Eisenegger, "And it took all of them 4 days to write those motions while I did cash collateral and talked to the client and learned the facts. Perhaps if we paid more money we'd have more skilled associates."

According to the court exhibits, Johnson also allegedly said, "It's a Thomson project, he goes full time on whatever debtor case he has running. Full time, 2 days a week.""

 

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