A California appeals court has snatched away $5 million in fees from attorneys at three top firms in a dispute over the riches of a deceased shopping mall magnate.

The state’s 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erroneously “rubber stamped” requests for attorney fees by Loeb & Loeb, Jones Day and Greenberg Traurig. The law firms represented the former trustee of Daniel W. Donahue’s estate. Donahue, who died in 2002, was chairman of Donahue Schriber Realty Group Inc., a Costa Mesa, Calif., real estate firm that owned numerous shopping centers in California and other western states.