Attorney Fees Knocked Down in Dog Barking Case
He called Colin Kaufman, who is co-chair of the firm's litigation department and handled the trial preparation work, an "excellent, experienced trial attorney."
He also said that Jeffrey Metz, an attorney at the firm who worked on the settlement, was an "excellent, experienced appellate attorney (whom this Court has known professionally for many years)."
Nonetheless, the judge found the $114,000 request excessive. "The latter phases of a dog-barking case that never went to trial should not be that expensive," he said.
"A case that had been extensively litigated for years by another firm, and that was essentially ready for trial when inherited, and that settled without a trial, should not cost a king's ransom," Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote. "Furthermore, the factual and legal issues were not that complicated: the building had ear-witnesses to the barking, and the by-laws allowed the building to impose fees."
The judge said the co-op would have come out ahead financially if it had simply accepted the original $35,000, or dropped the case entirely, without retaining Bailey.
Engoron also made much of the firm's "Gets Results" marketing slogan. "If you hire the firm that 'Gets Results,' you expect hard-nosed attorneys with a practical approach, not gold-plated preparation for a trial that should not have been that complicated, never was imminent, and never occurred."
The judge said that both parties were at fault for the litigation's cost, "but defendant the more so."
The judge knocked the fees down to $60,000, including the $15,000 already paid.
Bailey said he was considering an appeal.
"[The judge] said that our hourly rate was fair," Bailey noted. "He praised all of our attorneys that were involved in the case."