Saturday, February 9, 2008

Division of the Spoils and On-going Efforts

The Scruggs Matter includes, in one way or another, disputes between lawyers who at one time were all part of a single effort. Once they were joined together to pursue a case with enormous financial implications. Then the effort came to an end. Since it was successful the disputes have to do with the division of the spoils. (If they had not been successful, the disputes would have been the division of the liabilities.)

The troubles of the day seem to involve nothing but the mundane sort of disputes partnerships and marriages go through when goals are achieved and a party decides it is time to move on.

In this matter, the disputes are how the fees generated by this or that mass tort effort are to be divided. Invariably, an attorney, or a group of attorneys, says the compensation has not been enough and the other attorney says the compensation sought is unjustified or too much.

The disputes may involve great sums but they certainly are mundane, even banal. The attorneys fees debates are no different in essence than a dispute between a couple of business partners in Billings, Montana intent on gaining as much from the success of their operation as possible. It is always hard, if not impossible, to pick sides in such debates.

This matter is confusing because one of the disputants is pursuing another mass tort case and the people on the other side of that case are trying to do their utmost to prevent him from doing so.

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