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I'd like to tell you about the nation's richest practicing lawyer

  1. May 3, 2004 #1
    He lives in my town (a town of about 150,000) about an hour from Houston, TX.
    I knew the guy had a lot of money from Asbestos cases in the 80's, but recently came across where his latest money came from:

    I'll walk you through the history:

    Here is the case. Tabacco lawsuit. The man's name is Walter Umphrey, and his firm, with four others, represented Texas in the lawsuits.

    The settlement came to 17.3 BILLION dollars for the victims of tobacco.
    The lawyers, in the beginning, agreed to be paid 15%, but with such a high settlement no one though that would actually happen - I mean, BILLIONS in lawyers fees? That would be paid by the state?!?! NO WAY!

    Even the Attorney General said it was 'laughable'
    So then things went to court to figure out if they should get the whole 15% or not

    Well, what happened there?!

    The attorneys request, not the 15%, but in a closed door meeting TWENTY FIVE (25) BILLION dollars as lawyers fees. That's right, they asked for 154% of what the victims of the largest settlement in the history of the US got.
    Surely this wouldn't be done. Surely this would be laughed right out - after all, Mr. Morales, did say it was laughable thatit would even be in the billions!!

    Well, 5 firms split the share of 3.3 BILLION dollars!! Paid to them at 100 million a year, until completion. What happened to the original 15% mark?!
    Last edited: May 3, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2004 #2
    Now, 3.3 BILLION dollars is a lot of money. Especially since the Tobacco companies could only pay 14 billion, and the ENTIRE amount of lawyers fees are being paid by the state - yes, tax money to pay this insane fee!!

    How could this be, who would allow this to happen!? Why?!

    Well first off, let's see how the fees were decided:
    So trial lawyers help pick dollar amount that other trial lawyers get paid?! Brilliant!!

    Oh yes, Mr. Morales, what happened to the guy who said such fees were laughable!?? What possible connection could he have to these lawyers??

    Well first off, Morales, as the Attorney general, was responsible for choosing the 5 firms.

    Then no one seemed to mind at the time that all 5 lawyers firms donated money to Morales potlical campaign fund (including Mr. Umphrey at 1.1 million dollars to Morales party, and 16,000 to Morales himself)

    4 years later, in 2002, an investigation finally came together to bring this to court

    It is now 2004 Morales has been since idicted and sent to prison for a whopping 4 years.
    He recently sent a letter to the state government (now Republican controlled) asking them to investigate the 1998 tobacco trial. Due to a protective order, he didn't say exactly what to look for, but has pointed the state towards "the tobacco five".

    So, here we stand today, and not a single one of the 5 firms that received the fees has been charged with anything. However, Morales and several of his buddies have all been sent to prison. Apparently Mr. Umphrey, and now the others, have enough money to keep this tied up for quite a while.

    I don't have a huge point to this thread, except that I find it horribly disgusting, and amazing that the firms were ever able to get their hands on such an amount of money in the first place. I am just staggered by it.
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