Expert Opinions

LFA’s director, Joe Studer, regularly serves as a consulting expert, testifying expert or special counsel in disputes over legal fees and expenses. He has testified numerous times in matters across the country, and his expert opinions have been accepted in numerous US federal and state courts.

Joe provides opinions on the reasonableness of attorneys fees and hourly rates, on whether particular activities were necessary for the underlying matter, on the allocation of attorney fees and vendor disbursements among multiple parties, and on other topics. Joe Studer’s opinions have been presented both in support of and in opposition to the reasonableness of legal fees.

The strength of Joe’s testimony rests on his years of experience as a practicing attorney, his long experience in analyzing attorney fees, and his ability to provide definitive conclusions using quantitative data. Joe is known for “getting into the weeds,” and preparing exceptionally credible, relevant and persuasive expert opinions.

Joe is called upon to consult, opine or testify in a wide range of fee disputes, each one as singular as the underlying legal matter at its root. The following situations provide examples of where he has provided expert advice and opinions concerning the reasonableness of attorney fees.

FEE DISPUTES
  • Prevailing Parties. Many contracts contain a clause that states that if one party accuses the other of a contractual violation, the prevailing party will be awarded reasonable attorney fees.  Joe provides opinions both supporting and criticizing the reasonableness of attorney fees in these situations.
  • Insurance Coverage Disputes. Many insurance policies include provisions detailing the circumstances under which a policyholder can submit legal costs for insurer reimbursement. Joe routinely provides opinions concerning the reasonableness of the attorney fees at issue in these situations (both for insurers and insureds).  He also advises insurers about the reasonableness of fees incurred by insured-selected counsel in cases where the insurers are providing an ongoing defense, and also works with insurers and insureds to develop mutually agreeable litigation plans.
  • Statutory Fee ShiftingVarious state and federal legislation provides exceptions to the “American rule” that each party bear its own attorney’s fees in litigation. Joe provides opinions both supporting and criticizing the reasonableness of attorney fees in these situations, tailoring his analysis to the specifics of the statute or rule involved.
  • Qui TamQui tam actions claiming fraud against the government under the False Claims Act are increasingly common, and successful plaintiffs can receive payment of attorneys’ fees.  Joe provides opinions both supporting and criticizing the reasonableness of attorney fees in these situations, as well as the necessity of the efforts involved with these types of claims.
  • OverbillingClients may challenge the amounts charged by their counsel invoices that are thought to be inflated, inaccurate or out of proportion to the work that was performed.  Joe routinely provides opinions in these contexts, both for law firms and for the clients.
  • NonpaymentLaw firms or individual attorneys may seek to verify the validity of legal services rendered when faced with the threat of nonpayment by a client.  Joe also provides opinions in these situations, both for law firms and for the clients.

Representative Experience

  • Provided expert testimony concerning the reasonableness and necessity of approximately $5 million in attorney fees and expenses incurred responding to various environmental claims.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness and allocation of over $800 million in attorney fees incurred defending nationwide products liability litigation alleging that a pharmaceutical company failed to properly warn of certain side effects.
  • Provided expert testimony concerning the reasonableness and proper allocation of approximately $14 million in attorney fees and expenses incurred in various lawsuits alleging antitrust violations and monopolization claims against a health care system.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness of approximately $2 million in attorney fees a plaintiff’s attorney invoiced on a quantum meruit basis in a dispute between the attorney and the attorney’s former firm.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness of approximately $1 million in attorney fees paid in connection with an internal investigation and subsequent investigation by the United States Department of Justice for allegations of price-fixing and other antitrust activities.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness and proper allocation of approximately $1 million in attorney fees sought in connection with claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness of approximately $1 million paid to outside counsel in connection with advice provided in connection with SEC registration and other corporate issues.
  • Provided expert opinions concerning the reasonableness of approximately $8 million in attorney fees incurred defending various directors and officers against claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and various RICO violations.
  • Provided expert opinions and testimony concerning the reasonableness of approximately $13 million in attorney fees incurred in eminent domain litigation and related matters.