Late last year, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor awarded more than $21 million in attorney fees to Lisa Blue and Baron and Blue; Charla G. Aldous and the Aldous Law Firm; and Stephen F. Malouf and the Law Offices of Stephen F. Malouf — collectively known as “BAM” in O'Connor's opinion. BAM had represented Albert G. Hill III in a complicated trust dispute. Hill later challenged both the validity of the contingent fee agreement he had with BAM and the amount he owed, according to the order O'Connor issued in the case. Hill appealed the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Oct 26, the 5th Circuit dismissed Hill's appeal of the attorney fee awarded to BAM in Albert G. Hill III v. William Schilling et al.
In its per curiam opinion, the 5th Circuit noted that Hill “entered into an agreement to submit the BAM fee dispute for resolution by the District Court” and “[a]s a part of that agreement [,] [he] waived . . . his right of appeal to this court.”
The 5th Circuit panel concluded that Hill’s appeal of the attorney fee issue was “barred by the appeal waiver agreement.”
Alan Loewinsohn (pictured), a partner in Dallas' Loewinsohn, Flegle & Deary who represents BAM, says he’s pleased with the decision.
“We’re appreciative of the prompt ruling of the court of appeals and that they confirmed our original position that the judgment should stand and should not have been appealed,” says Loewinsohn, noting that the court issued its decision less than a month after it heard oral argument on Oct. 1.
William J. Skepnek, of The Skepnek Firm in Lawrence, Kan., represents Hill on appeal. He says he’s disappointed in the decision.
“Right now, we’re considering what to do. We have not made any final decisions,” Skepnek says.
--- John Council