Bankruptcy Law

Did lawyers for 50 Cent spend too much? Woman awarded $7M by jury disputes $123K bill for his costs

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An ongoing personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy case by Curtis Jackson III, better known as rapper 50 Cent, has put a spotlight on hefty expenses charged by his high-octane legal defense team in an earlier Manhattan tort case.

Plaintiff Lastonia Leviston, who won a $7 million jury verdict in July, is now challenging, in the Hartford, Connecticut, bankruptcy case, a $123,455.92 bill for costs in the Manhattan invasion of privacy case. It was submitted by Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, the firm that defended the rapper, reports the New York Daily News.

A recent bankruptcy court filing by Leviston questions $57,241.76 spent by Brewer on hotel rooms, at up to $1,000 per night, over a period of months prior to the July verdict in the Manhattan trial. It also questions $14,800.66 for legal research, $26,890.90 for court reporters and $4,186.94 on travel expenses.

The filing calls the Brewer firm’s expenses to defend the privacy case “extravagant, excessive and unreasonable” and contends Leviston’s own lawyers had less than $3,000 in expenses in the same Manhattan trial, the Daily News reports.

“Ms. Leviston’s attorneys stayed in a New York City hotel for the same trial as the Brewer firm’s attorneys and expended $249 to $450 per night per room,” the filing says.

Leviston is asking that the $123,455.92 bill be “disallowed, or alternatively, significantly reduced.” However, it is not clear from news coverage that she has challenged all of the expenses at issue.

Partner William Brewer III said his firm submitted a reasonable bill:

“We believe all of the firm’s expenses were appropriate, and we are prepared to demonstrate that to the court,” he told the Daily News. “We are confident the court will conclude these expenses were reasonable.”

The $7 million judgment won by Leviston, which includes $2 million in punitive damages, concerns audio comments by 50 Cent on a sex tape of Leviston with another man that was circulated on the Internet. The jury determined that 50 Cent had obtained and posted the private video in an attempt to embarrass a music rival, the Daily News reports.

The bankruptcy case was filed by 50 Cent shortly after the jury made an initial $5 million award to Leviston but before punitive damages were decided.

The Daily Mail and TMZ also have stories.

Related coverage:

Am Law Daily (sub. req.): “Get Rich and Get Bill Brewer; Fiddy Taps Texas Litigator”

See also:

Hartford Courant: “50 Cent Cash: Enough For $60K In Gardening, $144K In Child Support, Too Little For Lawsuits”

New York Daily News: “50 Cent says monthly expenses total $108K, including $4K for grooming and wardrobe, in bankruptcy court”

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