A federal judge has ordered that attorneys representing private individuals and companies who entered into economic and medical claims settlements with BP stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster are entitled to be paid $555.2 million to cover their legal fees and remaining court costs, reports The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier pointed out that award represents about 4.3 percent of the estimated $13 billion that BP is expected to pay under the ongoing settlements. That compares to the average 9.92 percent of awards paid as fees and court costs in 21 similar “super-mega-fund” settlements totaling more than $1 billion, he said in an order.
“In weighing the award against local billing rates, Barbier said it would be the equivalent to an average $450 per hour legal fee, after being weighted for the intensity of effort involved in the case,” writes reporter. “That compares to average nationwide rates of $604 for partners and $370 for associates in 2014, and to the $600 per hour paid by the state of Louisiana to its attorney in the BP case, Barbier said.”