US-Erfolgshonorar – 90.000.000 USD

New York Lawyer | June 16, 2010;  By Andrew Longstreth | The American Lawyer. In den USA ist die Vereinbarung von Erfolgshonoraren zulässig, in Deutschland abgesehen von einer kleinen, wenig relevanten Ausnahme grundsätzlich nicht. Im nachfolgend geschilderten Fall wurden 18% und damit bei einem Urteil von 500.000.000 USD zugunsten des Klägers 90.000.000 USD fällig.

In February, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison said that 2009 was the most profitable year in its history. That record could be broken in 2010, now that the firm has won a $90 million contingency fee as the result of a $500 million settlement it won for Alaska’s pension board.

Last Friday, a month before the Alaska Retirement Management Board’s case against Mercer Inc., the consulting unit of Marsh & McClennan, was headed for trial in Juneau superior court, Mercer agreed to a $500 million settlement. According to Paul Weiss partner Lewis Clayton, who would have served as Alaska’s lead trial counsel, the firm’s sliding-scale fee agreement with the pension board means the firm is entitled to about 18 percent of that recovery, or about $90 million. Total revenue at Paul Weiss in 2009 was $665.5 million.

The pension board’s suit filed in 2007 alleged that Mercer failed to competently calculate the expected liabilities of two Alaska state pension plans. Alaska alleged that near the end of a period between 1992 and 2002, which was the subject of the original complaint, Mercer discovered a math error that created a $1 billion shortfall for the funds. But instead of coming clean and correcting the error, Mercer allegedly tried to cover it up. Mr. Clayton said Mercer ultimately conceded its mistake after employees admitted it in depositions.

In a statement, Mercer denied liability and said that $100 million of the settlement would be funded by insurance. The company, which has been represented by Wesley Howell Jr. of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Eric Van Vugt of Quarles & Brady, said it faced $2.9 billion in damages at trial.

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