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July 15, 2003

It Depends Whose Fees Are Being Gored in Atlanta’s Lawyer-Tax Case

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:41 am

One can’t help but smile over the battle for fees and class size being waged in Fulton County Georgia’s Superior Court.  When lawyers make up the plaintiff class, such a fight was surely inevitable. Here are the opening paragraphs from an article in today’s Fulton County Daily Report describing the scene (from law.com, Lawyer-Tax Case Erupts in Fee Fight, by Rachel Tobin Ramos, 07-15-2003) (free access with registration for free e-newsletter):

Georgia’s Supreme Court declared the City of Atlanta’s $400 per lawyer annual occupation tax unconstitutional in March, but lawyers now are fighting over fees, tax refunds and interest potentially worth more than $20 million.

In Fulton Superior Court Judge Rowland W. Barnes’ courtroom last week, the dispute escalated into a clash of titans as name-brand trial lawyers, big firm partners and city attorneys sparred over how many lawyer-members of the class action qualify for refunds — an issue that directly affects how much all this will cost the city. They also fought over how much of the potential pot of gold the two plaintiffs’ lawyers should get.

Two of Georgia’s top trial lawyers, Bobby Lee Cook and Thomas W. Malone, were called as experts to testify that the 33.3 percent in legal fees requested by lawyers for the class was fair and reasonable. . . . .

If this doesn’t whet you interest, you need a little more caffeine this morning.   May the most ethical lawyer win.

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