Contractor’s Legal Fees to Be Comped by Al Jazeera

     (CN) – Al Jazeera owes about $127,000 in legal fees for its fight with a construction company that built the international news network a state-of-the-art television studio and office space in Washington, D.C., a federal judge ruled.



     After being sued by Qatar National Bank for keeping funds mistakenly transferred to fund the project, Winmar, a D.C.-based construction company, filed a third-party suit against Al Jazeera to pay the $474,677 judgment.
     Winmar won a $1.4 million judgment against Al Jazeera, well as 12 percent prejudgment interest set to run from March 2006 and 0.25 percent interest since the September 2010 judgment. Al Jazeera plans to appeal the ruling.
     U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler previously ruled that Al Jazeera does not have to pay for the court battle between Winmar and the bank, but that it is liable for the cost of its dispute with Winmar.
     Winmar initially requested a $150,000 award, but Al Jazeera challenged the estimate on the grounds that some of the costs were incurred during the bank litigation.
     Kessler disagreed, however, that she should order a 50-50 split of attorneys’ fees between the two cases.
     “In this case, that would be grossly unfair,” the Dec. 28 decision states. “The QNB litigation required no motions hearing, no evidence, and was decided on the basis of a summary judgment motion. In contrast, the Al Jazeera litigation took three days for a bench trial, with numerous witnesses and exhibits. There is no question in the court’s mind that the costs for the Al Jazeera litigation vastly exceeded the costs for the QNB litigation.”
     Kessler found that approximately 85 percent of attorneys’ fees were attributable to the Al Jazeera litigation, resulting in an award of approximately $127,000.

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