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Gibson’s Bakery seeks $9-13 million in attorney’s fees against Oberlin College

Gibson’s Bakery seeks $9-13 million in attorney’s fees against Oberlin College

Court denies Oberlin College motion to postpone attorney’s fees hearing, as “Plaintiffs intend to seek a lodestar multiplier of 2-3x counsel’s hourly fees, resulting in an award range of $9-13 Million plus expenses.”

The $11 million compensatory and $33 million punitive damage verdicts won by Gibson’s Bakery and its owners against Oberlin College later were reduced to $25 million under Ohio tort reform caps.

But there is an important piece left in the case, the determination by Judge John Miraldi of the amount of attorney’s fees, after the jury found in the punitive damage verdict that the plaintiffs were entitled to such fees.

It has been unknown, until now, how much plaintiffs would seek in attorney’s fees, and on what basis (e.g., contingency fee, “lodestar” or otherwise).

The hearing is scheduled for July 10, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. On July 2, Oberlin College filed a Motion (pdf.)(full embed below) to postpone the hearing or alternatively for expedited discovery:

On June 28, 2019, the Court entered an order scheduling a hearing on Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees for 12 days later—July 10, 2019. Defendants respectfully request that this hearing be continued for 45 days so that they may be afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to (i) request the relevant documents from Plaintiffs pertaining to Plaintiffs’ claimed fees and costs; (ii) analyze those documents; (iii) search for and retain an expert to review and analyze whether Plaintiffs’ claimed fees and costs are reasonable; and (iv) coordinate with that expert to be present to testify at the hearing.

If the Court is not inclined to continue the attorneys’ fees hearing, Defendants respectfully request an order that requires Plaintiffs to respond to brief discovery requests, which are attached at Exhibit A, seeking the identification of all exhibits and witnesses to be introduced at the attorneys’ fees hearing. Defendants respectfully request that the Court order Plaintiffs to produce this information on or before July 5, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.

At the attorneys’ fees hearing, it is expected that Plaintiffs will present arguments and evidence that the Court may use to conduct a lodestar analysis, which is calculated by taking the number of hours reasonably expended on a case and multiplying that figure by a reasonable hourly fee. Welch v. Prompt Recovery Servs., Inc., 9th Dist. Summit No. 27175, 2015-Ohio-3867, ¶ 20….

Plaintiffs have represented to Defendants that their estimated attorneys’ fees in this case would exceed $5 million. Claimed attorneys’ fees and costs in excess of $5 million will be reflected in hundreds—if not thousands—of pages of legal bills from the three law firms and eight attorneys that have represented Plaintiffs in the 20 months of this litigation. It is expected that Plaintiffs will attempt to introduce some or all of these legal invoices, and/or summaries of their fee statements, during the attorneys’ fees hearing. It is also expected that Plaintiffs will call witnesses to testify regarding the reasonableness of their fees. If Defendants are not afforded a meaningful opportunity to review the legal invoices upon which Plaintiffs’ claim for fees is based, they will be severely prejudiced in their ability to respond to Plaintiffs’ requests. In addition, Defendants are entitled to know what information, exhibits, and witnesses Plaintiffs intend to introduce in support of their claims during the attorneys’ fees hearing. As of the date of this filing, Defendants have not received a single piece of paper to support Plaintiffs’ anticipated request for millions of dollars in fees. Whenever these documents are produced, they will require review and scrutiny by Defendants’ counsel.

Defendants are also working to engage an expert witness who can (i) analyze Plaintiffs’ legal fees; and (ii) appear at the hearing to opine on the reasonableness of Plaintiffs’ fees. Under the current scheduling Order — and given the July 4th holiday — Defendants only have six business days to find, interview, and retain an expert who can devote a significant amount of time to the task in a short period.

The motion also indicated that the plaintiffs have subpoenaed defense counsel’s billing records, presumably to show that plaintiffs’ counsel’s time was not disproportionate to the defense counsel’s time, and hence, reasonable:

In addition, within the past 48 hours, Plaintiffs have sought to obtain Defendants’ billing records from counsel for Defendants and  three insurance carriers through the issuance of subpoenas. These requests are improper and inappropriate and do not relate in any way to Plaintiffs’ request for attorneys’ fees. Judicial intervention will be necessary to address Defendants’ objections (and objections from Defendants’ insurance carriers) arising from Plaintiffs’ improper subpoenas.

Note that the obligation of an insurer to defend is generally broader than the obligation to indemnify. So even if Oberlin College’s insurers are disclaiming coverage for the verdicts, they still may have been obligated to provide a defense. Whether the insurers can clawback the fees they paid is an area of law with which I’m not familiar.

In their Opposition to the Motion (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post), the plaintiffs’ lawyers disputed the claim of surprise:

The jury returned a compensatory damages verdict in favor of Plaintiffs on June 7, 2019. On June 13, the jury returned a punitive damages verdict against the Defendants and completed interrogatories identifying that Plaintiffs are entitled to attorneys’ fees. Therefore, Defendants cannot be surprised to learn that an attorneys’ fees hearing has been scheduled to occur (on July 10) nearly a month after the verdict.

Likewise, Defendants cannot claim undue prejudice or surprise as to the scope of the work performed by Plaintiffs’ counsel throughout the case. Defendants observed, first-hand, the scope of legal work involved in this case. Obviously, Defendants’ counsel was involved in much of it, including but not limited to: preparation and attendance at depositions, hearings, and trial; written discovery; compilation and review of substantial e-discovery; and preparation of voluminous motions, responses, and replies.

So that the hearing can proceed on July 10, Plaintiffs agree to identify witnesses for the hearing on July 5. Plaintiffs will also identify their expert witness on July 5 and further expect to be able to produce their expert’s report by the end of the day Friday (July 5), as well…

Plaintiffs will also provide the documents they plan to utilize in support of the requested award by the end of the day Friday (July 5). Plaintiffs will therefore exchange Plaintiffs counsel’s billing statements with Defendants, assuming that Defendants’ counsel produces their billing statements by July 5 in compliance with previously-served subpoenas. To the extent that Defendants challenge the number of hours reasonably expended and/or the reasonable hourly rate of Plaintiffs counsel’s services,1 it stands to reason that the number of hours performed by Defense counsel in the same case and their hourly rates are relevant.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers then explained the intended request:

To further place Defendants on notice of the requested award in advance of the hearing, Plaintiffs intend to seek a lodestar multiplier of 2-3x counsel’s hourly fees, resulting in an award range of $9-13 Million plus expenses.

Plaintiffs then used post-verdict statements by Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar to argue that the request for a delay was just part of an overall delay policy:

At the conclusion of their Motion, Defendants use the standard refrain that their “Motion is not made for purposes of delay…” In reality, Defendants’ Motion (like so many others before it) has only been filed for purposes of delay. In a post-verdict statement to the public, Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar warned of such delays:

The Judge denied the request for a postponement, but also ordered the exchange of information, including the defense billing records:

This matter comes before the Court upon the filing of Defendants’ motion to continue the hearing on attorney’s fees scheduled for July 1O, 2019 and Plaintiffs’ opposition thereto. Defendants’ motion is hereby denied.

The hearing will proceed on July 10, 2019 at 1:30 PM. No later than Monday July 8, 2019 at 5:00 PM: 1) the Parties shall identify all witnesses they intend to call to testify at the hearing and any exhibits they intend to introduce at the hearing; 2) Plaintiffs shall provide Defendants with responses to the discovery requests attached to Defendants’ motion to continue; and 3) Defendants shall provide Plaintiffs with their billing statements as referenced in Plaintiffs’ opposition.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

It is not known whether this information was exchanged on July 5, as ordered.

Oberlin College mounted a scorched-earth defense, as witnessed by a court electronic docket now on its 20th page, and a protracted trial strategy that helped turn what was supposed to be a 2-3 week trial into a six week trial, much of the time spent on defense motions.

The tone-deaf defense strategy never made sense to me, resulting in a $25 million judgment. Now Oberlin College may pay the price again for that misguided defense, in the form of paying plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees.

Daniel McGraw will be at the July 10 hearing, and will report on what takes place.

[Featured Image: Plaintiffs counsel Owen Rarric and Lee Plakas][Photo Credit: Legal Insurrection Foundation]

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Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Defense Motion to Postpone Attorney’s Fees Hearing by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

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Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Opposition to Defense Motion to Postpone Attorney’s Fee Hearing by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

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Comments

OK, so what is “lodestar”, please?

    rdmdawg in reply to snopercod. | July 8, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    From the motion itself:

    “At the attorneys’ fees hearing, it is expected that Plaintiffs will present arguments and evidence that the Court may use to conduct a lodestar analysis, which is calculated by taking the number of hours reasonably expended on a case and multiplying that figure by a reasonable hourly fee.”

      tom_swift in reply to rdmdawg. | July 8, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      That sounds like the way it would normally be calculated. Except maybe it’s normally number of hours multiplied by an unreasonable rate. That’s certainly how it seemed to me the last time I had to hire a lawyer (although to be fair I knew the unreasonable rate beforehand.)

      The “lodestar” part still remains mysterious.

        RodFC in reply to tom_swift. | July 8, 2019 at 9:13 pm

        Lodestar in normal English, is a star that navigators use to guide them.

        It is used as a rule of thumb or guide, so it makes sense.

        Publius_2020 in reply to tom_swift. | July 8, 2019 at 9:32 pm

        The “lodestar” is a nautical term for a star used to navigate by. In law, the “lodestar method” of computing attorneys fees is a two part process in which the court first calculates a baseline number (the “reasonable” hours times the “reasonable” rate), which is called the “lodestar amount” because it provides guidance to the Court in setting fee awards in a rationale and predictable way (instead of “gee, I think this case is worth X”).

        The second part of the process involves analyzing whether an adjustment to the lodestar amount is justified. The adjustment considerations are loose, but in general, courts don’t deviate much from the lodestar except in well-defined situations. There is a significant difference between federal law and state law on the question of whether contingent fee cases warrant an upward adjustment of the lodestar amount based on the risk of loss to the lawyers. The Supreme Court has said no; most states say yes.

        Further reading: Perdue v. Kenny A.
        559 U.S. 542 (2010); Burlington v. Dague
        505 U.S. 557 (1992).

      William A. Jacobson in reply to rdmdawg. | July 8, 2019 at 7:56 pm

      Lodestar is a way of multiplying the legal fees beyond straight time, taking into consideration the difficulty of the case, the result and other factors. It’s often used in class actions and other torts where the lawyers take the case on contingency, but the court cannot award the contingency fee as attorney’s fees.

I deserve no credit, I just copied this from wiki:

In the legal realm, the “lodestar method” refers to a method of computing attorney’s fees whereby a trial court must multiply the number of hours reasonably spent by trial counsel by a reasonable hourly rate. This figure can then be adjusted upward or downward for certain factors known as multipliers, such as contingency and the quality of the work performed, to arrive at a final fee. Under the lodestar method, the most heavily weighted multipliers are the time and labor required.

JusticeDelivered | July 8, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Normally I would recommend that Oberlin College buy large amounts of personal lube, but in this case they should buy it in gallon and five gallon containers, it is sold as wire pulling lube.

    alaskabob in reply to JusticeDelivered. | July 8, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    I would recommend no lube…

      JusticeDelivered in reply to alaskabob. | July 8, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      We all expect that Oberlin will continue to their attempts to drive Gibson’s out of business. I have an idea, how about suing the most belligerent students, maybe a RICO case?

      That could end when Oberlin signs a contract that as Gibson’s exists that Oberlin makes Gibson’s their sole supplier for the products Gibsons produces, and that Oberlin College guarantees minimum levels of occupancy of Gibson’s rentals.

      I am pretty sure that Gibson’s lawyers can draft an iron clad contract.

      Turn about is fair play.

    LeftWingLock in reply to JusticeDelivered. | July 8, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    You have to understand that it is not the Oberlin administration’s money. All they are going to do is take the money out of the endowment (and based on discussion from a couple of weeks ago, it looks like that is doable). Sure, Oberlin hates to lose. But the true believers are already being fed the story line that Oberlin was held responsible for the speech of the students. Nobody in administration loses their job or gets a paycut. At worst, if things get too hot, we will see a few positions shuffled.

      RandomCrank in reply to LeftWingLock. | July 8, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      Let’s imagine that Oberlin winds up spending $37 million, i.e., that the judge splits the baby and awards $11 million in legal fees + $1 million in expenses. The result will be a noticeable amount of lost income on that endowment.

      Oberlin was already suffering reduced enrollment, and the lost tuition revenue associated with it. They were already in belt-tightening mode. I think this will be worth another notch or two, especially if it winds up (as I suspect it will) further reducing future enrollments.

      Of course, they could always sell that $150 million statue. The deepest pockets at that joint are housed in the art collection. No one knows what it’s worth, but I bet it outstrips the value of the endowment. And there it sits, earning nothing.

OC will produce an expert to state reasonable attorney fees are $35,000.

    RandomCrank in reply to walls. | July 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Comment of the day! Award that man a gold star!

      Silvertree in reply to RandomCrank. | July 9, 2019 at 9:49 am

      a lode star…..

        MajorWood in reply to Silvertree. | July 9, 2019 at 11:36 am

        I just want someone to have a tape recorder going when Miraldi says “you paid him WHAT?” when he reads the documentation regarding the college’s assessment of Gibson’s value.

        So, way back, say maybe in April when we were postulating outcomes, the numbers were in the $5-10M range. If Plakas et al were working on a contingency basis, then it would make sense for them to limit their time and efforts to fall at or under the anticipated payout. For me, it is hard to justify a $10M legal billing for a case that might not even generate a payout of $10M. As I see it, this current exercise is simply to place an additional burden on Oberlin for being a$$hats. Gibsons still has an agreement with their counsel, and will be responsible for the contingency agreement that was reached before trial. People have thrown out numbers like 33%, so if the settlement is $25M, then Gibsons owes the legal team $8.3M. And if the legal team earned it, then they earned it. Miraldi is just trying to come up with a reasonable number to offset this amount per the juries instructions. It has nothing to do with how much the legal team actually makes. I am surprised that they are suddenly high-balling the amount, when I would guess, not being a lawyer, that they would not have overly exposed themselves financially unless they were certain that the money was going to be recouped. We have to also keep in mind that this trial got deeper and deeper as it progressed. A big factor was the impact on the bakery. When the documents were filed, IIRC, Gibsons business was only down about 20%. But the filing of legal documents triggered an even greater economic action on the bakery so that by the time of trial the bakery business was down by 50% of there was also the factor of reduced rental income for the apartments. So the anticipated payout in terms of punitive damages, and also being able to justify a longer timeline for recovery, grew exponentially in the time between filing and trial. And of course there was the unknown quantity of compensation for pain and suffering.

        I would be very surprised if the number of hours x billable rate exceeds $2M. Again, this has nothing to do with the actual compensation of the attorneys. It is just another message to Oberlin that they are responsible for the damage caused by their own misguided adventures. The Gibsons came out well and their lawyers will be compensated well for their efforts.

        Can’t say the same for Oberlin’s counsel, but then again, there are cases that are DOA that no one can fix.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to walls. | July 8, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    With oberlin College’s attorney’s agreeing to settle for the same amount.

In transportation terms a Lodestar (loadstar) is a really big truck. In legal terms Oberlin will need a large truck to deliver their payment to the Gibson’s!

The Friendly Grizzly | July 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Those fees just prove all the more that justice is for those who can afford it.

    Are you suggesting that justice is not being meted out in this case? The Gibsons are not what anyone would call ‘deep-pocket’ clients.

      Morning Sunshine in reply to rdmdawg. | July 8, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      no. i do not think that is what he is saying. That if a normal person wants justice – especially against a big institution – it is exorbitantly expensive and out of range.

        RandomCrank in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm

        I don’t know what the Gibsons’ fee arrangement has been, but I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be a contingency arrangement. Other lawyers can comment, and I’d be interested in what they have to say, but as a non-lawyer I have been plenty of contingency cases that provide representation in strong cases.

        When it comes to representation broadly, I’d guess that there’s plenty of inequality. But I doubt that applies in this one. The Gibsons had a very strong case, and I bet that their lawyers were more than willing to take the risk. We shall see, huh?

          RandomCrank in reply to RandomCrank. | July 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm

          Oops. I have seen …

          Publius_2020 in reply to RandomCrank. | July 8, 2019 at 9:37 pm

          If you look at the financial statements for the bakery and the overall presentation by the family, it is clear that they did not sign on to pay hourly fees of $2-3 million. So either (A) this is a contingent fee case; or (B) the plaintiffs’ lawyers statement to the Court about the lodestar amount are completely BS. (Note that ‘both’ is a possible answer; I’ve seen a few contigent fee lawyers that keep no track of time, and just make up the billing numbers at the end….).

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 9, 2019 at 1:43 pm

        That’s exactly what I meant. In the Gibson’s case, it looked and still looks slam-dunk. So, there’s a hefty percentage of the award goes to the lawyers.

        When someone is brought up on a felony charge on very thin evidence, or is over-charged so that the District Attorney can garner above-the-fold headlines close to election time, the defendant is left hanging.

        He a) get some public defender who is in the pocket of the DA, b)gets a public defender who is zealous and really wants to win the case but due to inexperience is chopped to pieces, c) mortgages the house, sells the car, and begs help from friends and family to afford counselings, or d) is well-off enough that he can afford a oak-panel Armani-suit law firm.

Morning Sunshine | July 8, 2019 at 3:14 pm

“is an area of law with which I’m not familiar.”

kind of off topic, and I know you are a highly educated lawyer, but I still have to say – THANK YOU for not ending your sentence with a preposition. It sounds so much better when properly worded.

    Trust me, a preposition is a perfectly valid word to end a sentence with. I have two writers’ handbooks that say so.

      RandomCrank in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      As a retired professional writer, I’d say that the preposition rule has relaxed, and that the practice now is to avoid ending a sentence with one unless the result is an awkward construction. A bigger sin is to begin with a gerund, i.e. a word ending with -ing.

      I can’t think of many exceptions, other than in a direct quote. Some people might cite a sentence like: “Beginning with (example) …,” but I’d reply that the sentence should start, “To begin with …”

      The late, great Vince Lombardi gets a pass: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” The rules should never get in the way of a colorful and memorable turn of phrase.

    tom_swift in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 8, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Sounds like somebody’s solidly in “This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put!” territory.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 9, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    It is pedantry of this sort up with which I do not choose to put.

RandomCrank | July 8, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Hoo boy, is Oberlin ever screwed!

Would not Oberlin’s land be better used for growing apples?

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Firewatch. | July 8, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    An orchard would not support local businesses. Gibson’s could afford to start over, most of the others would wither. The town does not deserve to die over Oberlin College’s sins.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Firewatch. | July 9, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    They don’t need one; they have a brand new facility in Cupertino.

Wait until the personal injury and other lawsuits from Andy Ngo start flying. While not against Oberlin this case is on point to some extent and you’re already seeing journos and other such cleaning their social media of certain endorsements.

    RandomCrank in reply to Joelist. | July 9, 2019 at 11:14 am

    They never caught his assailants, and the courts have long since ruled that no individual has a right to police protection.

So this is going to end up costing Oberlin nearly 40 million!! Virtue signalling can come with a hefty price tag!!

ScottTheEngineer | July 8, 2019 at 6:19 pm

According to the judges order. They have till 5pm Monday July 8th. Two days before.

The court document differs from the order by the Judge.

Will Oberlin be able to come up with an expert who will opine that the value of Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ legal services is $1.95, ala their oh so effective damages expert?

The Plaintiffs’ attorneys earned every penny, and given the ridiculous defense put on by Oberlin, the court should absolutely award a substantial amount.

Ye, gads. I thought it was expensive to hire a plumber.

rustyshamrock | July 8, 2019 at 7:35 pm

Why did they want the defense’s legal fees?

    RandomCrank in reply to rustyshamrock. | July 8, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    As a benchmark, I’d guess.

    Publius_2020 in reply to rustyshamrock. | July 8, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Because the judge has to rule on what is a “reasonable” number of hours and a “reasonable” billing rate, the primary attack on a fee application has to be either that the hours or the rate is “unreasonable.” The party applying for fees always wants to see the other sides’ bills in order to make the argument that the hours and rates were, in fact, reasonable because the defendant spent the same number of hours or paid the same hourly rate.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Publius_2020. | July 9, 2019 at 1:43 am

      If Oberlin spent, say, $2 million on this case, it is hard for the defense to claim a number at least that large is not appropriate for the Plaintiff to use as a basis.

      Plaintiff will not get what they are asking for. Plaintiff’s counsel is trying to recover as much of the contingency fee his client is paying from the award as possible. Any award of attorney’s fees does not replace any fee agreement made between counsel and client. It simply defrays that cost to the client. I would bet Plaintiff recovers around $4 million to defray $9 million in contingency fees owed to their counsel.

      It is likely Plaintiff’s attorney is simply trying to save his client some money, but the Gibson family will still likely own their attorneys millions more than the judge awards.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | July 9, 2019 at 9:08 am

        “If Oberlin spent, say, $2 million on this case”

        I would say much more than that, it seems like I read somewhere that Oberlin College had 11 attorneys present.

        For whatever reasons, rather it was to pick up real estate or just another case of black racism, Oberlin College launched an all out assault on Gibsons. They apparently thought they could scream racism and everyone would fall in line.

        What they are missing is that everytime they pull crap that they are losing support from the majority, and that all the perks they have enjoyed will end without the support they are squandering.

    To prove the Gibson had to spend at least as much money as OC to get justice.

    My guess is OC spent a whole lot more than the Gibsons, because OC tapped into a bottomless barrel of mullah.

    To prove the Gibson had to spend at least as much money as OC to get justice.

    My guess is OC spent a whole lot more than the Gibsons, because OC tapped into a bottomless barrel of cash

    To prove the Gibson had to spend at least as much money as OC to get justice.

    My guess is OC spent a whole lot more than the Gibsons, because OC tapped into a bottomless barrel of cash.

    To prove the Gibson had to spend at least as much money as OC to get justice.

    My guess is that OC spent a whole lot more than the Gibsons, because OC tapped into a bottomless barrel of cash.

DouglasJBender | July 8, 2019 at 9:46 pm

“Lodestar”. I thought it might be a steakhouse, or a new-and-improved Death-Star,

DouglasJBender | July 8, 2019 at 9:48 pm

period

Take away their sexist air conditioning, too.

Richard Aubrey | July 8, 2019 at 10:58 pm

How much money can these losers in the Oberlin administration shovel out the door before their Board fires them?

    MajorWood in reply to Richard Aubrey. | July 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Who knows? The board could be fully supporting these decisions. As I said before, the person pulling the strings will be just above the most senior person to get fired. The money is secondary here, and always has been. It was about whether the leftist SJWs could scream “racist” willy nilly, and they have just gotten a message that they can’t.

    Well, maybe I am speaking prematurely here. I still have faith that given enough rope, Ambar will get them into another defamation case with her continual mentions of “learned experiences.” The day is young and $60M might still make it to the table.

    And I would still like to see Krislov take some serious heat for this. It all began on his watch. It wouldn’t surprise me if some people at Pace are starting to take a deeper look at their decision. Remember, he was General Counsel at Michigan when all of their AA admission policies were under attack 15 years ago. A leopard can’t change it’s spots, just sayin.

I would presume that the Gibsons have a contingency fee arrangement, at least that is what I would have done.

Even with a contingency fee arrangement, Plaintiffs Counsel would still have a billable record for this very reason. The court will need to see it along with the expenses.

The part that interests me is the billable rate and the question of what is customary. I will be interested to know if they are going to use Lorain County numbers or Cuyahoga(Cleveland) numbers.

My sense is that billable rate for Cleveland dollars will be in the range 175-500p/hr Associate to Sr. Partner.

Interesting side note through all of the various articles I never once was curious to find out who the firm was handling Oberlin’s case until I saw the certificate of service and realized its technically my old firm.I worked for a firm that was merged into Taft. Thankfully none of my old lawyers that remain there are working the case publicly.
Also interesting to note that Josh Mandell is an Oberlin grad.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Tim. | July 9, 2019 at 1:53 am

    “My sense is that billable rate for Cleveland dollars will be in the range 175-500p/hr Associate to Sr. Partner.”

    The attorneys will have hourly rates established they normally charge other clients in non-contingency cases which can be confirmed with the presentation of actual bills for those cases. Those rates will prevail. So you take the Plaintiff counsel’s normal hourly rate and multiply that by the number hours Defense counsel may have padded, and you get the base recoverable fee.

    Did I say Defense counsel may have padded? I am sorry, that NEVER happens.

Many comprehensive liability polices require the insurer to pay all costs taxed against the insured in any suit the insurer defends. Such a policy generally requires the insurer to pay any attorney fee award entered against the insured as long as the insurer in fact defended the insured (i.e., it’s not dependent on whether the insurer ultimately establishes the judgment against the insured is or is not covered by the policy).

One would have to look at Oberlin’s policies to see exactly what they provide in this regard.

To prove the Gibson had to spend at least as much money as OC to get justice.

My guess is that OC spent a whole lot more than the Gibsons, because OC tapped into a bottomless barrel of cash.

AlexanderYpsilantis | July 10, 2019 at 12:04 pm

It seems Twillie Ambar’s big mouth is her own worst enemy. Her ill conceived communications to the world are going to cost Oberlin College many Millions of Dollars. She needs to be fired-post haste.

I wonder if someone has put a “let it go” bumper sticker on her car yet.

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