Attorney General Presses Fight to Cut Fees Awarded to Private Lawyers in Jordan/DMV Case

Thursday, December 21, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today submitted arguments to an arbitration panel in an effort to reduce the $88 million attorneys' fees granted to private lawyers who obtained $1,200 in refunds for four clients in the Jordan v. Department of Motor Vehicles case.

Lockyer was joined in the reply brief by associated counsel Elwood Lui, a retried justice of the Court of Appeal. The attorneys' fee award is being appealed at the request of Governor Davis and the state Board of Equalization.

Lockyer asserted that the panel committed an egregious error when it treated the case like an arbitration between private parties, rather than a proceeding required by state law to determine a payment to private lawyers from the state treasury. While the case specifically involves only four plaintiffs, the attorneys' fee award is almost five times more than the attorneys' fees awarded by the Superior Court.

Lockyer and Lui urged the panel to reconsider its decision and reopen the proceedings to allow consideration of further arguments.

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