Trials & Litigation

Baker Botts gets another $5.2M in litgation over $142M fee award in $6B bankruptcy case

After years of litigation, Baker Botts was awarded another $5.2 million in legal fees on Tuesday for defending its earlier $142 million fee award for representing a copper mining operation in a bankruptcy case.

The law firm’s representation of Asarco LLC was part of a long-running legal battle that began with the hostile takeover of Asarco in 1999 by Grupo Mexico SAB. Four years later, Asarco’s interest in Southern Peru Copper Corp, now known as Southern Copper Corp., was transferred to a Grupo Mexico unit. Environmental and asbestos claims and a strike by its workers put Asarco into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005, recounts Reuters.

Baker Botts sued Grupo Mexico on behalf of Asarco creditors, which resulted in a $6 billion win for them in a fraudulent transfer case, which contended that Asarco had been stripped of its assets and left holding the bag on expensive claims.

Asarco objected to the $142 million, particularly a $4 million enhancement. In his Tuesday ruling awarding Baker Botts another $5.2 million, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen praised the law firm for what he called “extraordinary” work in the Brownsville, Texas, case.

“If ever there were a case which called for an enhancement, surely this was it,” Hanen said, describing the case as the most successful bankruptcy in history.

Irv Terrell of Baker Botts, who handled the matter, told Reuters he was pleased by the ruling.

Ralph McBride of Bracewell & Giuliani, who represented Asarco, declined to comment.

Related coverage: “New Del. Chancery Chief Awards $1.26B in Stock Suit, Raps Wachtell Ex-Partner re ‘Unfair’ Valuation” “Big Payday for Shareholder Suit Lawyers: Del. Chancery Court Awards $285M Attorney’s Fee” “2 Law Firms Poised to Collect $300M Del. Chancery Attorney’s Fee Award, Plus $212K Daily Interest”

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