Milberg Weiss & Bershad, the law firm indicted for paying kickbacks to plaintiffs, was awarded a little more than one-third of the $101 million it sought for winning a billion-dollar shareholder settlement from Nortel Networks Corp.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in New York today said Milberg was entitled to $37.7 million in legal fees and expenses. Berman said the $101 million the firm was asking for would have been “excessive,”
The ruling is the latest setback for New York-based Milberg, which has been charged with paying clients to lend their names to securities class-action lawsuits. Since the firm and two partners were indicted in May, Milberg has lost clients, lawyers and lead- counsel status in several cases.
Milberg was the lead law firm in a securities class-action against Toronto-based Nortel, North America’s biggest maker of telephone equipment. The case settled last year for more than $1 billion. Milberg said it would share its fees with eight other firms.
The $37.7 million award “serves the dual purpose of encouraging counsel to bring appropriate cases and not granting fee awards that are excessive,” Berman wrote today.
Milberg spokeswoman Gina Rivera didn’t immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment.