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Baker Botts and Asarco Fight Moves to Supreme Court
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Two legal scholars analyze what they think are the worst Supreme Court decisions in history.

Summary: The legal battle between mining company Asarco and law firm Baker Botts has reached the Supreme Court.  

The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in a lawsuit between Baker Botts and Asarco, according to The Washington Post.

  
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Baker Botts represented Asarco, a mining company, in bankruptcy proceedings. The issue at the heart of the lawsuit is whether or not Baker Botts can collect $5.2 million in legal fees the attorneys accrued trying to convince lower courts they deserved to be paid an original $117 million in fees earned representing Asarco in their bankruptcy filing.

The bottom line here is that Baker Botts argues that it should be paid fees incurred as it defended the right to collect fees originally earned.

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The oral argument in front of the Supreme Court brings an end to seven years of legal fighting between Asarco and Baker Botts.

Asarco is owned by Grupo Mexico and it filed for Chapter 11 protection back in 2005. It exited bankruptcy back in 2009.



Baker Botts asked for $113 million to be approved by the presiding judge, with an additional $22 million in “fee enhancements.”

In 2011, the bankruptcy judge approved $117 million in fees for Baker Botts, which was $113 million and just $4 million in fee enhancements.

Asarco did not agree with the fees and a separate trial ensued. When defending its fee request, Baker Botts spent $5.2 million in attorney fees.

The issue, once appealed by Asarco, went to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Baker received a ruling in their favor in 2012, saying the firm should collect the $5.2 million defending its fee request.

To read more about Baker Botts, click here.

Asarco appealed once again, moving the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The appeals court reversed the ruling in April of 2014. Baker appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.

Aaron Streett, the Baker Botts attorney representing the firm in front of the Supreme Court, said, “It ensures that a company can’t attack the attorneys’ fee applications and water down the fees [attorneys] earned by forcing attorneys to bear the cost of defending it.”

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Source: Washington Post



 

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