In its lawsuit against Bill Cosby, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis is claiming the convicted sex offender failed to pay legal bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In a complaint filed Sept. 21, the firm said it is seeking payment of $282,948, plus late fees, costs and interest, from the now-imprisoned comedian. The firm filed a writ of summons earlier this month in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Schnader Harrison partner Sam Silver has represented Cosby in both civil and criminal cases.
According to the complaint, Cosby signed an engagement letter with Schnader Harrison in March 2016, just a few months after the criminal charges against Cosby were filed in Montgomery County. Cosby paid for work completed through the end of June 2017, the complaint said, but has not paid any of the firm’s invoices submitted between August 2017 and July 25 of this year.
Silver continued to represent Cosby leading up to the April 2018 criminal proceedings, the complaint said, despite not receiving payments from Cosby. He billed about $183,000 in December 2017 and January 2018, it said.
Cosby’s spokesman and other employees made several promises to Schnader Harrison since then that the payments were forthcoming, the complaint said, but they never were paid. On Aug. 30, the complaint said, Silver told Cosby’s new lawyers by email that the firm would file a lawsuit on Sept. 4 if it was not paid by then.
“Counsel’s response was to assert that if Schnader started a lawsuit, Cosby would question the invoices,” the complaint said. “Counsel suggested that Schnader forego [sic] a lawsuit, agree to confidentiality and participate in a binding ‘arbitration/mediation.’”
Silver withdrew from Cosby’s criminal case in January, before the retrial had begun. He was replaced at the time by lawyer Lane Vines of Berger Montague.
Silver also represented Cosby in a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the comedian’s accuser, Constand, which Cosby has since dropped. Cosby had alleged that Constand violated a settlement agreement the pair reached in 2006 by cooperating with law enforcement in the criminal case.
Cosby’s legal team has become a revolving-door operation, with several local and out-of-state lawyers having come and gone since he was charged in December 2015.
Brian McMonagle, a name partner at Philadelphia firm McMonagle, Perri, McHugh & Mischak, was the only lawyer to stay with Cosby from his indictment through the first trial, which ended in a hung jury in 2017. Christopher Tayback and Joseph Sarles of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles and Monique Pressley of The Pressley Firm in Washington, D.C., started with him, but they withdrew in 2016.
California lawyer Angela Agrusa entered her appearance in the fall of 2016, and worked on the first trial with McMonagle. They both withdrew from the case in August last year, as the retrial was approaching.
For his second trial, Cosby turned to lead defense lawyers Tom Mesereau and Kathleen Bliss, appellate lawyer Becky James and local counsel Vines. They all withdrew their appearance after Cosby was found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April.
Local lawyers Joseph P. Green and Peter Goldberger are now representing Cosby. Green did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
In addition to his prison sentence, Cosby is expected to pay fees to the state as well. His sentence came with a $25,000 penalty and an order to pay costs of prosecution, which the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has said were more than $43,000.