Three years later, after class action litigation giant Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein entered the picture, the case settled — as a class action global settlement. Ferguson got $125,000 out of the $80 million pot, while Prieto received $100,000.

Both promptly turned around and sued Lieff Cabraser and Meadows, accusing them of legal malpractice. They claimed that the lawyers entered into an agreement, without their knowledge, that not only deprived them of making claims for punitive damages, but also kept them from pursuing suits against Unocal individually.

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