Two recent rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit have made it clear that plaintiffs attorneys who don’t earnestly assess their fee petitions before submitting them can get slapped down by the courts—hard.
In one decision, Clemens v. New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance, the appellate court ruled for the first time that it is fair game for a district court to award an otherwise successful attorney nothing if their fee petition is “outrageous.” Less than two weeks after that ruling came down, the court further ruled in Young v. Smith that an attorney can be sanctioned and referred to the disciplinary board based on their fee petition.
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