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Tickets.com Inc. has agreed to pay $500,000 in cash to Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison’s estate to settle a fee dispute. The deal, inked with Brobeck estate trustee Ronald Greenspan, was filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in San Francisco Tuesday. Tickets.com also agreed to pay a percentage of any recovery from its ongoing litigation with Ticketmaster Corp. Brobeck had defended Tickets.com against Ticketmaster’s copyright infringement and unfair competition suit. A dispute over the firm’s fees arose after Brobeck dissolved in February 2003, with Tickets.com claiming it owed the lawyers nothing and Brobeck seeking at least $8 million. At issue was a complicated reimbursement arrangement between the two. In July 2001, Brobeck changed its retention agreement with Tickets.com from an hourly fee rate to a partial contingency arrangement. The agreement had a clause specifying how much Brobeck would be paid if it withdrew from the case. It also stated that if Tickets.com did not win any recovery from Ticketmaster, Brobeck was to receive no fees unless it withdrew from the case. The court filing states that when Brobeck partners representing Tickets.com moved to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the online ticket company requested a revised, lower contingency fee arrangement. When Tickets.com refused to accept the existing terms, the former Brobeck lawyers withdrew from the case. The fee dispute went to arbitration before the Bar Association of San Francisco, which in June made a nonbinding decision in Brobeck’s favor. Tickets.com then sued Greenspan in Orange County Superior Court, arguing that it owed Brobeck nothing. The court ruled that the fee agreement with Tickets.com was unconscionable. The parties then went into mediation and came up with the current settlement. Greenspan’s attorney, Bennett Murphy, of Los Angeles’ Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman, said Greenspan has collected millions of dollars from former Brobeck clients since he became trustee. “Tickets.com was among the most significant settlements in dollar amount and complexity,” Murphy said. In a separate filing with the court, the trustee said he had found a Colorado investor to buy Brobeck’s rights to two of the firm’s investment funds. The investor has agreed to buy one fund for $64,785 and the other for $30,000. Bennett said former Brobeck partners who participated in the funds would have the option of taking cash for their portion or outbidding the buyer and taking out their portion of the investment.

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