TransPerfect Wins Effort to Access Details of Skadden Arps Bills in Chancery Court Case

Folks, it’s amazing how sunlight acts as a disinfectant for corruption. TransPerfect won the right to see the bills in their Chancery Court case, but I think it’s only because they used a lawsuit in Nevada to successfully shed a spotlight on what Bouchard was doing, which in any other court would be deemed corruption in my view.

After four years, and, from what I understand from sources at the company, $14 million later, he is finally allowing TransPerfect to see itemized invoices from his old law firm, Skadden Arps for work allegedly performed by Chancery Court-appointed Custodian Robert Pincus.

That all sounds nice but the order has not been signed and in my view, there is no chance Bouchard is going to rule against his former colleagues at Skadden Arps and order them to produce a real itemized bill. If he did, he would risk exposing 4-years of court-sanctioned money siphoning from TransPerfect while also risking folks seeing potentially padded Skadden bills.

I think Bouchard wants the public to believe that he is being transparent, but nothing that has happened in this case has been transparent and there is no reason to believe anything would change now. Why has the court-appointed custodian wanted his bills to be hidden in the first place? And why did Bouchard threaten to hold TransPerfect in contempt with a $30,000 a day fine if they didn’t withdraw their lawsuit in Nevada? In my opinion, the only answer that makes sense to me folks is that there is something to hide.

If there is nothing to hide, why is the custodian fighting to keep his bills a secret? Why hasn’t Bouchard ordered him to turn over his bills without lawyers spending thousands of dollars telling him why? The only conclusion I can see is that in my opinion, Bouchard is protecting his Skadden-buddy Pincus.

If the court doesn’t order a custodian to turn over his bills to the company that is paying those bills, then there is no transparency. When will the corruption end?!

Please read the Delaware Business Court Insider article below, which recaps the initial news from Bouchard to open up Skadden’s bills. The story explains the latest events.

As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated.

TransPerfect, Shawe Win Bid to Access Details of Skadden Bills Incurred by Custodian

The ruling, which Bouchard said he planned to formally enter later this week, ratcheted down tensions in a two-state standoff between Shawe’s legal team and attorneys for Robert Pincus, the court-appointed custodian in what has become Delaware’s most vexing legal drama.

By Tom McParland | October 21, 2019

Andre G. Bouchard

Despite being held in contempt last week, TransPerfect Global Inc. has won its Chancery Court bid to access the details of bills being paid to the former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner appointed to oversee the company’s court-ordered sale.

Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard said Monday that he would grant a request by the New York-based translation services company and its CEO, Philip Shawe, to see what type of work it was being charged for, as well as the billing rate, time spent and positions of the Skadden attorneys working on the case.

The ruling, which Bouchard said he planned to formally enter later this week, ratcheted down tensions in a two-state standoff between Shawe’s legal team and attorneys for Robert Pincus, the court-appointed custodian in what has become Delaware’s most vexing legal drama.

The latest spat centered on bills Pincus submitted for some expenses he incurred following the 2015 sale, including costs related to two lawsuits in New York state and federal court stemming from the sale.

Shawe, who won the court-mandated auction following a bitter battle with company co-founder Elizabeth Elting, argued that he should be able to see a full list of itemized expenses, and TransPerfect altogether refused to pay two disputed bills from June and July. The company then sued Pincus in its new home-state of Nevada, seeking a declaration that it was under no obligation to indemnify Pincus for his role as a former tie-breaking director of TransPerfect.

Pincus responded by asking Bouchard to hold TransPerfect in contempt for trying to undermine the Chancery Court’s exclusive jurisdiction over the case.

On Oct. 17, Bouchard agreed that TransPerfect had “intentionally and willfully violated court orders and said he would fine TransPerfect $30,000 per day if the company did not dismiss its Nevada suit by Monday. However, that ruling did not touch on TransPerfect’s gripes about Pincus’ billing.

In a brief telephone conference with counsel Monday morning, Bouchard said he would grant TransPerfect’s request out of “practical concerns” that TransPerfect had raised, even though he disagreed with the company’s legal analysis. Under the order, TransPerfect would be able to challenge the bills in court.

Nothing in the ruling, he clarified, was meant to walk back his ruling on contempt. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things,” Bouchard said. “Seeking to undermine the court’s exclusive jurisdiction in the wrong way.”

Attorneys for TransPerfect said after the hearing that they had gotten all they wanted with regard to billing and confirmed that they would, in fact, withdraw the Nevada suit before the end of the day.

Because of the victory today in Delaware, we are withdrawing the Nevada suit,” Shawe’s lawyer, Martin Russo of Kruzhkov Russo in Manhattan said in a statement. “There is no fine, no contempt, and there is finally going to be clarity on Skadden Arps’ billing, as we had called for.”

Shawe, likewise, said the ruling was a “major win for transparency and openness in the Delaware courts” and that Skadden’s billing would now be subject to “some level of review.” A spokesman confirmed that TransPerfect still intended to appeal last week’s contempt ruling.

Skadden, which represents Pincus, said the firm was “pleased with the court’s well-reasoned decisions, which adopt Skadden and Mr. Pincus’s position that TransPerfect and Mr. Shawe are in contempt, were in violation of applicable fee orders, and should be permitted access to invoices, but only in accordance with appropriate procedures.”

Monday’s ruling followed an escalation in rhetoric aimed at Bouchard over his handling of the TransPerfect case. Shawe and his team have been fiercely critical of Bouchard throughout nearly five and a half years of litigation. Last month, however, a TransPerfect-linked group ran a television ad in the Delaware market calling out Bouchard’s wealth and connections as part of a pressure campaign aimed at keeping him from being nominated to an opening on the state Supreme Court.

The Delaware legal community was swift in its condemnation of the ad and its message, calling it nothing more than an unwarranted attack seeking retribution against the chancellor.

Shawe’s spokesman has denied any involvement on the part of his client, and the group’s leader said it had taken no money or direction from Shawe.

Still, Russo said last week that Bouchard has a “bone to pick” with Shawe.

“Why hasn’t the chancellor recused himself,” he asked rhetorically, in a statement.

Bouchard did say Monday that he would wait until at least late Wednesday to officially enter his billing ruling, after David Finger, Shawe’s Delaware counsel, said he would be withdrawing from Shawe’s team.

Contacted by phone Monday, Finger, of Finger & Slanina, said his decision was related to “confidential attorney-client” interactions, but declined to comment any further.

An attorney for TransPerfect said he believed “there is something in the works” and that Shawe planned to substitute counsel within one to two days.

About Judson Bennett

Captain A. Judson Bennett was a life- long resident of Lewes, DE. He served the maritime industry for 33 years, primarily as a Delaware River Pilot, guiding large ships to the Port of Philadelphia. Captain Bennett has been an active and consistent entrepreneur over the years.

He was elected as a Lewes City Councilman for 6 years. Afterwards he ran for the Sussex County Council as a Republican, and with 20 thousand people voting, lost Delaware’s closest election by 3 votes to an 8 year incumbent. Abandoning his personal political ambitions, he became the Republican District leader, advocating conservative values. Captain Bennett became a lobbyist in the state legislature advocating among many ideas, financial literacy concepts in education. He managed several political campaigns, including one for Governor of Delaware and one for the US Senate against VP Joe Biden. He is now the owner, operator, and writer for the Coastal Network which communicates regularly with over 6000 people throughout the State of Delaware.

Captain Bennett is a graduate of St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, DE (where the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society was filmed) and also graduated “Magna Cum Laude” from the University of Delaware with a BA in Criminal Justice and an MA in Liberal Studies.

He is now a Widower, living in West Palm Beach, Florida. Captain Bennett has one son, three grandchildren, and one great grand-daughter, all who live in Richmond, Virginia.