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HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WANT LAWYER TO BE PAID MIAMI — To Holocaust survivors in South Florida, Miami lawyer Sam Dubbin is a hero who spent six years fighting for fair settlements from Swiss banks that allegedly funneled millions in assets looted by the Nazis. But to a New York federal judge, Dubbin’s years on the case had little or nothing to do with obtaining settlement money for his clients. Indeed, Chief Judge Edward Korman of the U.S. district court in Brooklyn alleged in a ruling last month that Dubbin tried to “extort” the court to obtain a $3.6 million fee. In his March 9 ruling, Korman nixed Dubbin’s request for legal fees, refusing to give him a penny. The ruling has set off fierce recriminations in the longstanding class action filed against two Swiss banks in 1997 and consolidated in Brooklyn. The initial $1.25 billion settlement with the banks was announced in 1998. But a dispute over the “looted assets” portion of the settlement — and whether money should be distributed on the basis of the financial need of the survivors — has pitted Jewish and survivor groups from around the world against each other and held up much of the settlement’s distribution. In his ruling on legal fees, Korman took the financial need approach, which was recommended in 2000 by a general master he appointed, New York lawyer Judah Gribetz, as well as the lead plaintiff counsel he appointed, Burt Neuborne, a law professor New York University. Korman approved a settlement formula that grants Holocaust survivors in the former Soviet Union 75 percent of the $205 million in “looted asset” funds. — Miami Daily Business Review

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