Beware defense lawyers: If a settlement agreement in an employment discrimination case makes no mention of how the plaintiff’s lawyers will be paid, they have a right to petition the court for an award of fees, a divided panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

“A settlement agreement that is silent as to attorney’s fees will not be deemed to constitute a waiver, regardless of the course of negotiations,” U.S. Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica wrote in Torres v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

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