KERR & WAGSTAFFE OBTAINS $2.4 MILLION VERDICT IN LEGAL FEE DISPUTE
09 Jul, 2012
San Francisco-based litigation firm Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP obtained a $2.4 million verdict on behalf of its client, attorney Michael Danko, in a complex e-discovery case involving a legal fee dispute with his former partner Terry O’Reilly and the firm O’Reilly Collins. Mr. Danko will also receive more than $18,000 in unpaid business expenses and will be awarded penalties and prejudgment interest due to the defendant’s willful failure to pay. Kerr & Wagstaffe partner and co-founder James Wagstaffe and associate Kelly Corcoran represented Mr. Danko.
“This verdict came after a drawn-out e-discovery battle and rare sanctions issued against the defendants for mishandling the process,” said James Wagstaffe. “The evidence proved that Mr. Danko was wrongfully terminated and entitled to his 50 percent share of the fees he generated for the firm.”
In June 2012, Kerr & Wagstaffe successfully persuaded the San Francisco Superior Court to grant key sanctions in the case which prohibited the defendants from introducing into evidence any new documents. Kerr & Wagstaffe proved that the defendants withheld hundreds of pages of critical e-discovery even though they certified under oath that all discovery had been produced. The defendants produced the withheld documents at a later date.
Personal injury attorneys Michael Danko and Terry O’Reilly practiced together for 14 years at the San Mateo law firm O’Reilly & Danko, known for multi-million dollar aviation accidents and SUV rollover verdicts. In 2009, Mr. Danko started his own practice and sued Mr. O’Reilly for wrongful termination and unpaid fees of nearly $2.5 million in connection with an aviation negligence case he brought to the firm while still a partner. Mr. Danko claimed that the two had entered into an oral contract entitling him to the fees. Mr. O’Reilly contended that there was no agreement and that Mr. Danko left the firm because he disagreed with how it was being managed.
Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, a San Francisco-based litigation and appellate firm, represents clients both as plaintiffs and defendants in commercial disputes, intellectual and trade secret matters, insurance policy holder rights, constitutional law, defamation and first amendment lawsuits, employment and employee-related litigation, environmental and land use disputes and professional liability and ethics.