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Ogletree Deakins Settles Defamation Suit Against Maricopa County, Refunds $51K for ‘Coding Mistake’

Posted May 30, 2012 9:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart has apparently settled a defamation suit against Maricopa County, Ariz., over claims in a termination letter that the firm may have expanded its assignments and possibly inflated its legal bills.

The defamation suit settled last month, though the billing dispute continues, the Arizona Republic reports. The county has withheld about $1.1 million in fee payments pending an auditor’s review, and the parties will begin nonbinding arbitration next month.

Soon after dismissing the suit, Ogletree refunded $51,000 to the county because it charged attorney rates for an employee who had not yet received her law license, the story says. A letter to the county said the error was a "coding mistake which was nothing more than a mere oversight.”

Ogletree Deakins has claimed the county is retaliating for its representation of former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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