Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel Announces New York Decision
NEW YORK, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel announced today a decision regarding attorneys' fees for outside counsel retained by the State of New York in the 1998 state tobacco litigation settlement.
In this case, the Panel determined that full, reasonable compensation for these attorneys is $625 million.
These fees, which will be paid by the tobacco companies, are separate from -- and in addition to -- the $25 billion financial recovery the State of New York will receive through its settlement with the tobacco industry over the next 25 years, and additional payments in perpetuity.
The New York State Fee Payment Agreement specifically granted the Panel the authority to award a fee either lower or higher than the contract stipulates. The Panel's findings are final and not appealable by any party.
The arbitrators for the New York 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 New York counsel-appointed member. Dr. Wells is the consensus selection of both parties and is permanent chairman.
Dr. Wells and Mr. Huge signed the majority opinion. Judge Renfrew dissented.
During its consideration of the New York application, the Panel conducted a hearing in Houston on December 6-8, 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, Michigan and certain California cities and counties.