Tag Archives: Attorney’s Fees

Properly Pleading Attorneys’ Fees in Suits Against Partnerships and LLCs to Avoid Zombie Litigation

Jeff Nobles
“Zombie litigation” broadly refers to cases that generate unending piecemeal litigation. Attorneys’ fees disputes often spawn zombie litigation—after the merits of the case have been decided but the lawyers continue to litigate and appeal whether and how they will get paid. Over the last 20 years, Texas appellate courts have crafted new tools to help … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 7/11/08

D. Todd Smith
The Texas Supreme Court issued four decisions with this week’s regular orders. In City of Waco v. Lopez (No. 06‑0089), a retaliatory discharge action in which the City filed a plea to the jurisdiction, the Court held that  the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act  provided the exclusive state statutory remedy.  The Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and dismissed … Continue Reading

Flat Fees = Good

D. Todd Smith
Anyone want to hire me for a flat fee of $200,000 for a single case?  Didn’t think so.  But then again, I’m not the former Solicitor General of the United States.… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 4/11/08

D. Todd Smith
The Texas Supreme Court issued 11 decisions, all but three of them per curiam, with this week’s orders.  They are: In re H.V. (No. 06-0005), a juvenile justice case involving the suppression of evidence and appellate review under Section 56.03(b) of the Texas Family Code.   Lewis v. Funderburk (No. 06-0518), resolving a 12-2 split among the … Continue Reading

How Should Contingent-Fee Agreements Address an Appeal?

D. Todd Smith
I have been surprised at the variety of ways in which contingent-fee agreements address what will happen if the case goes up on appeal.  Some don’t deal with it at all, other than to say that the trial attorney is not obligated to pursue or defend an appeal should one be taken.  At the other end of the spectrum, agreements … Continue Reading

State Employees’ Birth Dates Are Public Information

D. Todd Smith
In Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts v. Attorney General of Texas (No. 03-07-00102-CV), the Third Court of Appeals has agreed with an attorney general opinion that state employees’ birth dates are public information subject to disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act.  Justice Diane Henson (pictured) wrote the panel opinion (joined by Chief Justice Law … Continue Reading

More on Reverse Contingent Fees

D. Todd Smith
In this post from last summer, I mentioned reverse contingent fees as a potential means of compensating appellate counsel.  Spurred by a question I asked in response to one of his recent posts, Blawgletter (a/k/a Susman Godfrey’s Barry Barnett) expounded on how his firm approaches reverse contingent fees in business litigation matters.  The methodology would … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Opinions, Part II

D. Todd Smith
As promised, here are some very brief summaries of the latest Texas Supreme Court opinions. In In re Pirelli Tire, L.L.C. (No. 04-1129) (orig. proceeding), a case brought by non-U.S. residents, the Court held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens.  The Court relied … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 9/28/07

D. Todd Smith
The Texas Supreme Court issued four opinions with today’s orders. In National Plan Administrators, Inc. v. National Health Insurance Co. (No. 05-0006), the Court held that a third-party administrator did not owe a general fiduciary duty to an insurer in light of the parties’ agreement and certain provisions in the Insurance Code.  The Court therefore … Continue Reading

Judgment Denying Fees and Subrogation Reversed

D. Todd Smith
In Osborne v. Jauregui, Inc., a dispute over a defectively built home,a divided panel of the Third Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded the trial court’s judgment declining to award the plaintiffs attorney’s fees and denying an intervening insurer’s subrogation claim. Plaintiffs sued the architect/builder and several subcontractors, alleging DTPA violations and other causes … Continue Reading

Is Appellate Law Suited to Alternative Fee Structures?

D. Todd Smith
A recent post from Susan Cartier Liebel over at Build a Solo Practice, LLC (entitled The Cockroach of the Legal Profession—The Billable Hour) has spurred me to comment on the continuing viability of the billable hour as it relates to appellate practice. In my previous life as a big-firm lawyer, the billable hour was ingrained in … Continue Reading

Are BigLaw’s Increased Rates Good for Specialized Solos?

D. Todd Smith
Yesterday, Texas Lawyer released the results of its annual salary and billing survey.  The accompanying article quotes a couple of corporate general counsels about how BigLaw’s ever-increasing rates may affect their choice of outside lawyers.  Comparing annual rate increases to “death and taxes, you know it’s coming every year,” one says that smaller boutique firms … Continue Reading

State Waived Attack on Attorneys’ Fees by Failing to Raise It in Supreme Court

D. Todd Smith
In another chapter of the most recent school-finance case, Neeley v. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District, the Third Court of Appeals has rejected the State’s challenge to the district court’s $4 million attorneys’ fee award.  The court of appeals held that the State waived its argument that certain constitutional provisions precluded the districts from … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 3/2/07

D. Todd Smith
It’s been a busy week at the Texas Supreme Court.  Today’s orders included opinions in the following six cases: In Citizens Insurance Co. v. Daccach, the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s certification of a worldwide class of securities purchasers. The supreme court reversed,decertified the class, and remanded the case to the trial court, … Continue Reading

“Nonrefundable” Fee Subjected Lawyer to Discipline

D. Todd Smith
In Cluck v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline, the Third Court of Appeals has affirmed a summary judgment disciplining a lawyer who deposited $20,000 from a client into his operating account rather than his trust account.  The fee agreement described the money as "a nonrefundable retainer" against which the lawyer would bill at his hourly rate. … Continue Reading