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What Is The Deal With These Legal Bills? (NY)

March 31, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">Jerry Seinfeld was just involved in a trademark lawsuit stemming from his Netflix series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," which is pretty funny, and I'm sure Jerry would concede, a fairly transparent excuse for Jerry to hang out with his comic buddies and drive around in fancy cars.   I mean, that's basically the title of the show.   Not a bad day's work.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Seinfeld's lawsuit a former writer and director, whose claims against Seinfeld were<strong> <a href="https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2022/03/30/us-judge-slashes-gibson-dunns-fee-request-in-seinfeld-copyright-lawsuit/">dismissed on procedural grounds</a></strong>.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The ensuing litigation -- and reason for this post - stems from Seinfeld's attorneys charging him roughly $973,000 in defense fees over the copyright lawsuit.   (Clearly, Seinfeld does not have a billing auditor vetting the legal bills.)  Last week, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Seinfeld-Fees.pdf"><strong>reduced the fees</strong></a> from $973,000 to $29,000, and referred the defense costs as "staggering" in a 21-page decision.   The fact that a busy judge in the SDNY saw fit to spend 21 pages lambasting these attorneys for such exorbitant fees suggests that this decision should act as a deterrent to such practices in the future.  The Court provides a thorough recitation of the reasons for the deductions, both in terms of the hourly rates, but more so, the unreasonable time spent.  For example, 120 hours researching a motion to dismiss, plus another 130 hours revising that motion after an amended complaint.  If only Seinfeld's attorney's name were "Newman" -- then this litigation would make more sense!</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Please email <a href="mailto:bgibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions about this post.</p>
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