Chancery Court’s Andre Bouchard Orders His Previous Law Firm Skadden Arps to Justify Billing in TransPerfect Case
The press is all over the absurd and outrageous actions of Skadden Arps, the notorious law firm that makes John Grisham’s novel “The Firm” look like child’s play. Folks, can you imagine the audacity of a law firm actually billing and rationalizing the justification of charging a fee for generating an invoice.
The actions of Skadden in the TransPerfect case, through its operative Robert Pincus, should show the avarice and angling this company attempts to get away with, which in my opinion, creates a negative impression and suspicion of Delaware’s entire legal operation, especially those who feed off of the Chancery Court. This attempt by Skadden, operating in Delaware, to incorporate billing for the creation of an invoice should make all clients suspicious of Skadden and their billing practices.
IS THIS WHAT THE DELAWARE BAR ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS AND ADVOCATES????? Folks, the Bar association chose to publicly attack CEO Philip Shawe, TransPerfect, and a Citizens group advocating change, rather than play it straight with Delaware’s people or fix what is obviously corrupt, broken and incestuous.
Even Chancellor Bouchard, a former business Skadden partner and lawyer — who has clearly shown incredible bias and innumerable appearances of impropriety in the TransPerfect case — is now questioning the prudence and ethics of billing for the preparation of a bill. He ordered Skadden Arps to provide an Affidavit justifying these charges. Skadden has tried to wrangle $200,000 in addition to the outrageous $4.5 million in unexplained invoices. These sky-high amounts draw even more attention to the ludicrous $1,425 an hour that Pincus has been charging. Outrageous, folks!
Here below a Law.com article by Ellen Bardash, which nails the story.
As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Chancellor Andre Bouchard said he intends to issue a ruling before he steps down from the post on April 30 and said no more fee petitions are to be filed until a decision is made.
By Ellen Bardash | March 03, 2021 at 01:20 PM
Attorney fees were at the center of a hearing Tuesday set to address the remaining issues in the TransPerfect Global custodianship case.
Jennifer Voss, a litigation partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, argued it was actions by TransPerfect and CEO Philip Shawe that contributed to the bulk of the fees billed by Skadden after the company’s sale.
But TransPerfect attorney David Goldstein of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman said the more than $3.9 million in disputed fee petitions wasn’t reasonable for the work Skadden was asked to do.
“Responding to Mr. Shawe’s barrage of improper filings and his frivolous assertions unfortunately gives rise to significant expense, which expense Mr. Shawe is now trying to force upon Mr. (Robert) Pincus,” Voss said, referencing the court-appointed custodian in the case who TransPerfect sued in Nevada, where it is now incorporated. “What they’ve essentially done now is bury Mr. Pincus in filings, in motions, in discovery requests. And when he turns to try to get paid for any of this, they say ‘no. You have to pay for your efforts to get paid.’”
Skadden has asked Bouchard in a petition for discharge to delineate Pincus’ indemnification rights, though Bouchard questioned how adding 20-plus pages to a case with an already extensive paper trail could make the process more efficient—a concept hammered home by TransPerfect counsel later on in the hearing. Voss said during the hearing Delaware courts have already ruled Pincus will be indemnified to the fullest extent of the law and compensated at his hourly rate, Voss said.
Throughout the hearing, Voss referenced the lawsuit TransPerfect filed against Pincus in Nevada in 2019 alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and seeking damages, as well as the suit filed against H.I.G., which bid in the auction of TransPerfect, in New York, both of which Skadden has maintained violated the exclusive jurisdiction required by the Delaware case, which ultimately led to a finding of contempt.
“This is not normal conduct. This is the conduct of a person who has a history of seeking retribution against those who oppose him,” Voss said of Shawe.
Bouchard said he intends to issue a ruling before he steps down as chancellor April 30 and said no more fee petitions are to be filed until a decision is made, though more are likely to be submitted in the future. He asked Skadden to submit an affidavit showing that the amounts billed between May 2019 and December 2020 were actually incurred, that they were reasonable and that the rates used were consistent with what the firm has charged other clients, noting that in his experience, it’s unusual for a firm to bill a client for the time spent administrative work like calculating expenses.
Goldstein said the rates charged by Skadden exceed those charged by comparable firms in the area of Wilmington and Philadelphia and to be reasonable, the rate should be similar to firms in the same geographic area. Voss maintained the rates billed in the TransPerfect case were in line with rates charged to other clients and that the court shouldn’t have to go through fee petitions line by line to approve items individually.
“This stuff isn’t complex. What is this? This is preparing fee statements for $200,000; responding to fee objections for $605,000,” Goldstein said. “It’s a lot of money that we have no control over. We have no control over what they choose to do. We have no control over discounts. We have no control to say to them, ‘we don’t like the fact that you put three partners and four associates on that,’ like a voluntary client.”