Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel Announces Unanimous Kansas Decision
NEW YORK, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tobacco Fee Arbitration Panel announced today a unanimous decision regarding attorneys' fees for outside counsel retained by the State of Kansas in the 1998 state tobacco litigation settlement.
In this case, the Panel determined that full, reasonable compensation for these attorneys is $54,000,000.
These fees, which will be paid by the tobacco companies, are separate from -- and in addition to -- the $1.767 billion financial recovery Kansas will receive through its settlement with the tobacco industry over the next 25 years, and additional payments in perpetuity.
The Kansas 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 Kansas 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 Kansas counsel-appointed member. Dr. Wells is the consensus selection of both parties and is permanent chairman.
During its consideration of the Kansas application, the Panel conducted a hearing in Houston, TX on November 13, 1999. Both parties also presented written submissions to the arbitrators.
The Panel has previously announced fee determinations for attorneys representing the states of Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois and Iowa. It is also announcing a determination today for attorneys representing the state of Louisiana. The Panel will continue its work for those states choosing to enter the arbitration process. To date, some states have opted not to enter arbitration and have reached separate agreements with the industry on attorneys' fees.