A federal appeals court upheld a 20% reduction in attorney fees after finding a law firm’s negotiation tactics were “akin to a shakedown,” and knocked the firm for its attempt to recuse the trial judge who ruled against it.

The panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit agreed with a lower court finding that Little Rock, Arkansas-based Sanford Law Firm overbilled in a case involving unpaid wages. At one point, the firm asked for $6,000 in attorney fees even though it performed less than $1,500 in work at the time it made the request, Judge Jonathan Kobes wrote for the panel, which included Judges Lavenski Smith and Raymond Gruender.

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