Low relator attorney’s fees? Dog bites man.

by bvernia | July 24th, 2009

Law.com’s story on the legal fees to be paid to the relator’s lawyer (David Koenigsberg of Menz Bonner & Komar) in the NY State and City Medicaid settlement with DOJ this week strikes me as missing the point.

The relator, Hedy Cirrincione, will receive $10 million. Law.com reports, though, that “her lawyers apparently won’t even be collecting a percentage of her payout,” and asks why the bill for legal fees and costs is “so low.”

The attorney’s fees don’t strike me as particularly low, but what I do find interesting is that the cases were originally filed pro se in 1998, and she hired her attorney in 2004. It’s not too surprising that having entered the case halfway through, her attorney was not pulling the laboring oar on this big and no doubt politically sensitive investigation.

It’s also likely that Koenigsberg will get a sizeable portion of that $10 million – that’s the cake; the attorney’s fees are just the icing.

What I find newsworthy is that a pro se relator could get through those first six years. Also interesting is DOJ’s apparent decision not to move to dismiss her as a pro se relator suggest that the US saw some benefits in keeping her in the case.

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