Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel Announces Michigan Decision
NEW YORK, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel announced today a decision regarding attorneys' fees for outside counsel retained by the State of Michigan in the 1998 state tobacco litigation settlement.
In this case, the Panel determined that full, reasonable compensation for these attorneys is $450 million.
These fees, which will be paid by the tobacco companies, are separate from -- and in addition to -- the $8.7 billion financial recovery the State of Michigan will receive through its settlement with the tobacco industry over the next 25 years, and additional payments in perpetuity.
The arbitrators for the Michigan case included the Panel's two permanent members -- Dr. John Calhoun Wells, the Panel's chairman, and former U.S. District Court Judge Charles Renfrew, the industry-appointed member -- and Harry Huge, Esq., the Michigan counsel-appointed member. Dr. Wells is the consensus selection of both parties and is permanent chairman.
Dr. Wells and Mr. Huge signed the opinion. Judge Renfrew dissented. The arbitrators also authored responses.
During its consideration of the Michigan application, the Panel conducted a hearing in San Francisco on October 31 and November 1, 2000, during which it heard from and questioned witnesses for both parties. Both parties also presented written submissions to the arbitrators.
The Panel has previously announced fee determinations for attorneys representing Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah and certain California cities and counties. The Panel will continue its work for those outside counsel choosing to enter the arbitration process. Some outside counsel have opted not to enter arbitration and have reached separate agreements with the industry on attorneys' fees.