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Judge Awards $20 Million in Lawyer Fees, Sanctions Possible

Posted Apr 20, 2007 7:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Florida judge has awarded $20 million in fees and $2.9 million in costs to lawyers who represented plaintiffs in a trade secrets lawsuit against Motorola, but didn’t rule on their request for $100 million in sanctions, the Daily Business Review reports.

Lead plaintiffs’ lawyer Willie Gary of Stuart, Fla., had sought $11,000 an hour in fees, amounting to $24.5 million for himself. Plaintiffs had asked for sanctions against the suburban Chicago electronics company because its witnesses violated a sequestration order by reviewing testimony in the case, which ended with a hung jury.

Circuit Judge Leroy Moe of Broward County said the plaintiffs’ attorneys would have to decide how to divvy up the money.

The attorney for Motorola, Faith Gay, had argued the sequestration violation did not affect the outcome and called the plaintiffs’ legal team “greedy lawyers,” the legal newspaper says.

After the judge ruled, Gay said the amount awarded was "peanuts," according to a story published in the Chicago Tribune based on wire service reports. But Gary said the case sent a strong message to corporate America.

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