All proceedings in this case have been held in abeyance pending the decision by the arbitration panel in December 1998 awarding attorneys’ fees in this and a number of other tobacco cases. On March 18, 1998, WLF filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of itself and U.S. Representatives Tom DeLay and Joe Barton of Texas, urging Federal Judge David Folsom to reverse his decision approving the unprecedented payment of up to $2.3 billion in attorneys’ fees as part of the settlement of a 1996 lawsuit brought by the State of Texas against the tobacco industry. WLF’s brief strongly criticized the judge’s original decision in January to approve the one-sided motion for attorneys’ fees, arguing that under Texas law and prevailing judicial practice, attorneys are required in major cases to submit time records to ensure that the fee is a reasonable one, regardless of the contingency percentage originally agreed to by the parties.
State of Texas v. The American Tobacco Co.