Thornton Law, others to pay $2m for probe of their bills

The Boston Globe reports on Ted Frank’s request to intervene in a case with an unfair class-action settlement. 

At a hearing Tuesday on the planned investigation, US District Judge Mark L. Wolf said it was the first time in more than 30 years as a federal judge that he had appointed a special master. He named a former federal judge, Gerald Rosen, to look at whether Thornton, Labaton Sucharow, and Lieff Cabraser intentionally inflated their bills by double-counting lawyers and claiming exorbitant costs for dozens of low-paid lawyers, including the brother of Thornton managing partner Garrett Bradley.

Lawyers from Thornton and New York-based Labaton Sucharow admitted they overstated their legal bills in documents filed under penalty of perjury. Wolf relied on the documents, in part, to award the lawyers $75 million in legal fees and another $1.25 million for expenses.

Lawrence Sucharow, a partner at Labaton, acknowledged his firm double-counted 9,000 hours of legal work worth $4 million by mistake, calling it “very embarrassing.” It was “a result of miscommunication in the accounting department,” said the firm’s lawyer, Joan Lukey.

Wolf delayed deciding whether Ted Frank, a lawyer with the Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington and a leading critic of excessive fees in class-action cases, can intervene in the case, as he has requested.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers opposed his involvement.

“It’s ironic, because any corporation caught telling investors something this misleading would surely face litigation from Labaton and Thornton,” Frank said after the hearing.

“One hopes affected investors step forward and do something about it.”

Read the full article at The Boston Globe.