Lawyer bills $10 million after 46-year lawsuit

What would your final bill look like after 46 years on the same case? For one Louisiana attorney, it was $10 million. [From via ABA Journal.]

Opelousas attorney Marion Overton White has asked a federal judge to award him a fee of $700 an hour for 14,136.5 hours of work on the case — a total bill of $9,895,550.

U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon has set a June 23 court date to consider the request, but attorneys for the School Board have asked for more time to review the billing information submitted by White.

White filed the suit to desegregate the St. Landry Parish School in 1965. The case settled in March[!]. Over the last 46 years, White put 14,000 hours into the case and is charging $350 an hour. But he’s asking for double the amount because of the length of the dispute.

While I’d bet the court might look into the appropriateness of charging a 2011 rate to 1965 hours, he certainly has a point about the protracted dispute. I’m no accountant or economist, but certainly there’s somebody that could do a ‘present value of his 1965 hourly rate plus interest’ analysis that could possibly show that the parish would be getting a bargain at $700 an hour.

[Coincidentally, we have a story about a dispute over the appropriateness of an attorney fee request coming in Monday’s Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Look for it online on Friday. ]


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