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The D.C. Court of Appeals last week upheld a multimillion-dollar award for attorney fees to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in a decade-long malpractice dispute with a former client. The firm was sued in 1994 by Breezevale Ltd., after Gibson, Dunn attorneys allowed a Breezevale employee to testify during a deposition that company executives forged documents in a lawsuit the company filed against tire manufacturer Bridgestone-Firestone Inc. Breezevale claimed the disclosure forced it to settle the suit for $100,000 � much less than the $20 million it was seeking. A D.C. Superior Court jury subsequently found Gibson, Dunn liable and awarded Breezevale $3.4 million in damages. But the trial judge threw out the judgment, saying Breezevale had engaged in “bad faith litigation” by insisting the documents at issue were not forgeries, and ordered the company to pay Gibson, Dunn $5.3 million in legal fees and damages. That judgment was vacated on appeal, and the case was remanded back to Superior Court Judge Steffen Graae, who again found in favor of Gibson, Dunn. Last week the appeals court upheld Graae’s decision to dismiss the case and his order that Breezevale pay Gibson, Dunn more than $4 million in legal fees. But the court did vacate a $1 million award for punitive damages, calling it “excessive.” Theodore Boutrous Jr., a Los Angeles-based partner at Gibson, Dunn who represented the firm, expressed relief with the court’s decision. Breezevale’s attorney, Stephen Susman, a partner at Susman Godfrey, did not return calls for comment.
Bethany Broida can be contacted at [email protected]

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