Gordon & Rees founding partner Stuart M. Gordon and partner James R. "Reg" Reilly recently won a major arbitration on behalf of two Bay area law firms and four attorneys in a case in which their former client sought $10 million in damages plus costs and fees. The victory was featured in Law360, the Daily Journal and The Recorder.
As noted in the articles, the arbitration award is particularly interesting because it involves questions on a client’s actual, express authorization of settlement terms in a high-stakes case – difficult issues involving “Monday morning quarterbacking,” “buyer’s remorse,” and the “credibility of witnesses,” the arbitrator wrote.
In the case, the claimant firms and attorneys, represented by Mr. Gordon and Mr. Reilly, sought unpaid legal fees and costs for their representation of Pleasanton, Calif.-based CrestPoint Solutions Inc. in an underlying Atlanta action against AT&T. CrestPoint asserted a cross-claim for professional negligence/legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, alleging that the claimant counter-respondents did not have the express authorization of CrestPoint to settle claims in the underlying AT&T action and breached the standard of care with respect to settlement of the AT&T case because they were unprepared.
In August, Mr. Gordon and Mr. Reilly won a total victory in favor of their clients – The Walsh Law Firm, The Ramsey Law Group, James Walsh, Bruce Ramsey, Hussein Saffouri and Robert Bleicher – including attorneys’ fees, costs and interest, with the arbitrator noting that the claimant firms and lawyers proved their claim and as the prevailing parties should be awarded a total of $378,045.95, which includes $262,706 in attorneys’ fees and costs for representing CrestPoint in the AT&T case. The arbitrator also said CrestPoint “failed to prove any of its claims against” the firms and attorneys.
“We are thrilled that the arbitrator believed in our case and that our clients were entitled to their fees and costs, plus interest. There was no basis for CrestPoint’s claim of malpractice against them, which only arose when the CEO of CrestPoint was faced with having to pay the outstanding attorneys’ fees he owed,” Mr. Gordon says.
Gordon & Rees San Francisco associate James K. Holder and senior paralegal Micah E. Wayte also assisted with the case.