(CN) – A family who hired four attorneys from three firms for a short-lived case can only recover about half of its more than $12,000 in legal fees, the 7th Circuit ruled. Judge Williams explained that four lawyers were too many for an “uncomplicated, low-stakes case that settled within three months of filing.”
Jean, Alfred and Teri Schlacher sued a debt-collection law firm for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Within three months, they accepted $6,500 to settle the case.
They then sought attorney fees of $12,495, plus about $400 in costs.
U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur awarded them only $6,500, saying the Schlachers’ legal bill was so high because they hired too many attorneys.
The Chicago-based federal appeals court agreed that the “collaboration among four attorneys had inevitably led to duplicative work and excessive billing.”
The defendant firm was the Law Offices of Phillip J. Rotche & Associates, P.C.