Attorneys settle for $188.5 million in tobacco fees after initially seeking over $900 million
A judge approved a settlement Tuesday between lawyers and the state of Illinois involving legal fees from litigation against the tobacco industry.
The lawyers, who were hired by Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan when he joined the multistate lawsuit against tobacco companies to recover health care costs, originally demanded 10 percent of whatever Illinois won.
But the state balked when the attorneys wanted more than $900 million in fees from the state's $9.1 billion award, which was part of a $206 billion settlement reached by 46 states with tobacco companies in 1998.
The state stood by a ruling in October 1999 from a national arbitration panel that awarded the attorneys $121 million.
Tuesday's settlement, approved by Judge James Henry, gives the attorneys about 2 percent of the award.
The law firms involved were Freeborn & Peters of Chicago; Hagens Berman of Seattle; Barrett Law Offices of Lexington, Miss.; and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein of San Francisco.