Neufeld Scheck & Brustin and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady have reached a settlement with Catalano & Plache in Washington, D.C., which sued the two civil rights firms over shared legal fees. Neufeld Scheck and Emery Celli represented the estate of a Ramapough Mountain Indian who was fatally shot by a New Jersey park police officer. The case resulted in a $3.75 million settlement, including $1.19 million for legal fees and $185,359 for attorney disbursements, according to court filings.
In an Oct. 15 complaint, Catalano & Plache had claimed the two New York firms cheated it out of a significant fee (NYLJ, Oct. 29). Catalano alleged the three firms signed a joint retainer agreement, but the New York firms submitted court documents indicating Catalano was not named as counsel to the estate. Catalano had claimed its damages were $594,106, and that it was entitled to $1.78 million in treble damages plus interest.
Earlier this month, the three firms filed a stipulation of discontinuance in Catalano & Plache v. Brustin, 157248/2012 with prejudice, with each party paying their own costs. Catalano's attorney, Lawrence Wilson, a partner at Wilson Grochow Druker, said the case was resolved amicably, thus avoiding a "long, drawn-out litigation."
Andrew Celli, a partner at Emery Celli who spoke on behalf of his firm and Neufeld Scheck, agreed that "We settled the case amicably." Neither side would comment further or disclose the amount of the settlement.