The Civil Justice Association of California's (CJAC) Comments on the California Supreme Court's Decision in "Santa Clara"
The President of the Civil Justice Association of California, John Sullivan'a remarks on last Monday's Supreme Court of California decision on the Santa Clara Contingency Fee issue:
By disregarding the firm advice of California's district attorneys and not learning from ongoing lessons in other states, the California Supreme Court may have set our state’s civil justice system on path to a new brand of wasteful, confusing, and perhaps extortionate 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 »
Though California has so far escaped from the potentially corruptive influence of contingency-fee agreements between private lawyers and public prosecutors, other states have not been so fortunate.
The Wall Street Journal has published several editorials blasting the unseemly state practice of hiring outside lawyers to sue private companies on a contingency fee basis --and how the trial bar returns the favor with campaign donations to state office holders. The Journal revealed that Oklahoma's attorney general had entered into agreements with private firms to sue tobacco companies and later big-name poultry companies.
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry turned down a bill that would have shed light on these deals. According to the Journal, Oklahoma's Private Attorney Retention Sunshine Act would have required state agents to use open, competitive bidding for any legal work of more than $5,000. On contracts worth $500,000 or more the governor would have to sign off. It would also have required contingency lawyers to submit a list of hours and expenses, payment for which could not exceed a mere $1,000 an hour. Read More »
Amicus Curiae Briefs Filed in Santa Clara Case: Most Come out Against Contingency Fee Arrangements for Inherently Public Claims
The pending Santa Clara v. Superior Court litigation has previously been discussed on this site, most recently in a post with an update on the parties’ merits briefing. As can be seen from the California Supreme Court’s online docket, the amicus briefs are rolling in to address the issue presented before the court, i.e., "May a public entity retain private counsel to prosecute a public nuisance abatement action under a contingent fee agreement?
This blog has previously mentioned the Santa Clara v. Superior Court case, now pending in the California Supreme Court. See here and here and here. [Full disclosure: this blog's author is one of the defense counsel of record in that case.] As reflected at the court's online docket, the issue presented is: "May a public entity retain private counsel to prosecute a public nuisance abatement action under a contingent fee agreement?" Read More »