PJC In The News

Concerns about new formula for attorneys’ fee awards

By Steve Lash, Daily Record

September 18, 2011: Three times in the past 10 years, Montgomery County Circuit Court judges have tried to determine how much Joy Friolo is entitled to in attorneys’ fees in a wage dispute. Three times, they have gotten it wrong.
Last month, rather than give the circuit court a fourth try, the Court of Special Appeals took the job upon itself.
In doing so, the court established a formula to determine Friolo’s “degree of success” at trial, which it determined to be 12 percent based on her claims, the award and the settlement offer she rejected.
Then, it limited her attorneys’ fees to 12 percent of the lodestar amount, not only for trial fees but also for appellate fees. It said the reduction was necessary to reflect Friolo’s “relative contribution to prolonging these proceedings”
But the court’s degree-of-success formula has drawn criticism from civil rights and consumer advocates who say it would discourage private attorneys from taking the cases, which often result in low jury awards.
Read the full article, "Concerns about new formula for attorneys’ fee awards," including comments from PJC Legal Director Debra Gardner.

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