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CHICAGO � Noting last week that a fee dispute between two law firms looked more like a “Pier-10 brawl” than a legal action, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a lower court’s ruling to leave one remaining issue in the case to state court jurisdiction. The decision in the battle between Chicago-based Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman and Bridgeport, Pa.-based Koresko & Associates puts the bulk of the case to rest in the three-year fight. Following a four-day bench trial that settled the fee dispute, the lower court, the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, decided that a remaining amended defamation counterclaim by attorney John Koresko against a third party should be dismissed without prejudice because it didn’t belong in federal court. Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman v. Koresko & Associates, No. 04-5183 (No. Ill.). “We want this thing to be over,” said John Piegore, a partner at Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman, which had hired Koresko to handle a lawsuit it filed against a benefits administrator. Koresko was awarded $83,000 in the fee dispute, he said. The three-judge 7th Circuit panel, in an opinion written by Judge William Bauer, backed the lower-court ruling. “[W]hat started out as a relatively simple class action evolved into battles among lawyers, suits and countersuits, settlement fights, multi-state and multi-court cases that finally bore more resemblance to a Pier-10 brawl than legal actions,” Bauer said in the decision.

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