Fee Spree

The Bum Steer Law Review

JUSTICE IS BLIND. LAWYERS ARE NOT

A team of lawyers led by John Cracken of Dallas sued Allstate and Farmers insurance companies over their method of rounding up the cost of automobile insurance premiums. The proposed settlement gives the lawyers $10 million while policyholders are entitled to apply for a refund of $5.50 each.

DON’T COUNT ON THE TRADE-IN VALUE

Attorneys Sam Baxter of Marshall and Tim Crowley of Houston sued General Motors over dangerous gas tanks in GMC pickups. The Texas Supreme Court rejected a settlement in which the lawyers got $9.5 million, while 645,000 Texas truck owners got only a $1,000 cash voucher toward the purchase of a new GMC pickup or van.

HOW MUCH IS SCANDALOUS?

Houston attorney George Fleming sued manufacturers of defective plastic pipe. The settlement earned him a fee of nearly $109 million, and 35,000 plaintiffs received replacement plumbing valued at $1,200. District Judge Russell Lloyd of Houston reduced Fleming’s fee to $43.5 million, describing the original fee as “almost scandalous.”

LEAVING JUST ENOUGH TO COVER COURT COSTS

The City of Austin paid Houston attorney H. Lee Godfrey $970 an hour to sue Houston Lighting and Power. The case was settled for $20 million, of which more than $12 million was paid to Godfrey’s firm in legal fees and expenses.

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