The legal team spearheading the leading federal case over water contamination in Flint, Michigan, has fractured amid accusations of excessive fees, client poaching and ethics breaches.

Theodore Leopold and Michael Pitt, lead counsel in a consolidated class action in Michigan federal court, filed a March 12 motion to remove attorney Hunter Shkolnik from his appointed position as liaison to the individual plaintiffs. They say Shkolnik, of New York’s Napoli Shkolnik, has been swiping their clients by forcing them to sign unlawful retainer agreements with excessive fees. Such an “appearance of impropriety and self-advancement” has led to a “series of ethical issues and conflicts,” the motion says.

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