On Wednesday, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Qwest Communications, filed a lawsuit that alleges the lawyers who represented him during his insider-trading case overbilled him, a newspaper has learned. The legal malpractice lawsuit was filed in state Superior Court in Newark, NJ, seeks punitive and compensatory damages totaling $25 million plus attorney’s fees.
The former CEO is currently located at a federal prison in Pennsylvania, serving a 70-month sentence for using insider information as a basis for selling $52 million in stock in his former employer, the source was told. An appeals court also ordered him to pay a $19 million fine and to forfeit close to $45 million. His conviction was in 2007.
The former CEO’s current attorney has also informed the source that thanks to the law firm named in the suits failure to follow even the most “basic litigation procedures,” his client received not only strict fines, but also a lengthier prison sentence than what was necessary. The attorney also stated that due to these failures, the trial judge barred the defense’s sole expert witness. He also added that the case is sad, since his client not only received inadequate representation during his trial, but he was also overbilled in the process.
The lawsuit also includes allegations against the law firm for paying itself unreasonable and excessive fees from monies that it held in trust. It further claims that during the trial the law firm charged for in-room movies, meals, and underwear for the attorneys to the tune of several tens of thousands of dollars.
An appeal to reduce the amount of the fines that were imposed was dropped as part of a settlement between the former CEO and the SEC last month that included the SEC dropping a civil complaint against him. The SEC still has a pending complaint against former executives and employees of Qwest Communications, for what they say are there roles in the reporting of the company’s financial performance between 1999 and 2002.
Although legal malpractice lawsuits in Brooklyn and Staten Island may seem like an insurmountable process, lawyers are supposed to maintain high ethics and integrity.
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