The Maryland Daily Record also reports today that a Maryland lawyer defended himself yesterday in New York against charges by a federal judge that the fees in the settlements the lawyer negotiated on behalf of the families of four Pentagon workers killed were “unfair” and “unreasonable.”
Specifically, the judge alleged something that will have every mass tort lawyer involved in cases with multiple defendants nodding their heads: that the lawyers’ strategy “seems to have been to coast on the work of others and to wait for the last position” before settling. This is familiar to mass tort products liability lawyers because if you have ten defendants, there are usually about three law firms working like crazy with the other seven firms riding on their coattails. (When I defended drug companies, I played both roles at different times.)
I remember about a zillion lawyers volunteering to handle these cases pro bono, so I’m not sure what happened there or how these clients found these lawyers. I’m also not in a position to judge what these lawyers did. But a lot of Maryland lawyers were looking quite good with their volunteer efforts. Regardless of the facts, this debacle gives every Maryland lawyer – including defense lawyers, by the way – a black eye.