On Monday the Supreme Court of California spoke for the first time in 25 years on the rule prohibiting contingency fee counsel from prosecuting public law enforcement claims. In People ex rel. Clancy v. Superior Court, 39 Cal.3d 740 (1985), the court prohibited this practice unequivocally because of the risk that the impartiality and neutrality of the public prosecutor would be compromised by contingency fee counsel’s financial interest in generating the largest possible dollar recovery in the litigation. Read More »
On Monday the California Supreme Court reversed course on itself by deciding a governmental entity can retain contingency fee counsel to pursue civil claims provided the language of the contingency fee agreement contains certain provisions that purport to guarantee the government is in control of the litigation. In County of Santa Clara v. Read More »
As previously reported at this site, the California Supreme Court heard argument on May 5 in County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court, a case that will decide the continued vitality of the rule in People ex rel. Clancy v. Superior Court, 39 Cal.3d 740 (1985), barring the government from hiring contingent fee counsel to prosecute public nuisance and other similar civil law enforcement actions. At issue is whether the prohibition in Clancy is subject to an exception when the government exercises adequate control and supervision over contingent fee counsel. Read More »
In a November 22, 2008 post on ClassActionBlawg.com, Paul Karlsgodt juxtaposed the Rhode Island Supreme Court's July 1, 2008 decision in State of Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association, 951 A.2d 428 (R.I. 2008), and the Supreme Court of Canada's November 20, 2008 decision in St. Lawrence Cement, Inc. v. Barrette, 2008 SCC 64. They should not, however, be confused as comparable "public nuisance class actions."