The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Broward County Judge Larry Moe. He gets the award for the following.
A judge Thursday ordered Motorola Inc. to pay $22.9 million to high-profile lawyer Willie Gary, who represented a defunct Fort Lauderdale company in a trade secrets suit against the cell-phone giant.Note- Here is Gary's website. Including photos of his cars and plane. Hat tip- Rick at SOTP.
Circuit Judge Leroy Moe, ruling in his Fort Lauderdale courtroom, said Gary and his Stuart firm are owed for their work representing SPS Technologies Corp. SPS had claimed that Motorola stole its technology to track vehicles. Its suit ended in November in a mistrial.
"There are few lawyers who deserve the title of superstar, and one of them is Mr. Gary," Moe said in making his ruling. "He's pretty much in a category all his own."
However, Moe's assessment of a superstar's value is far less than Gary's.
Gary had asked for $93 million in legal fees, $3.1 million in costs and $100 million in restitution for SPS. Defense attorneys said Gary's request amounted to at least $11,000 an hour.
Moe did not address Gary's restitution request.
The hearing, and many of Moe's questions, focused on the issue of what a lawyer is worth. Motorola's lawyers cited testimony from experts giving estimates ranging from $450 to $750 per hour for star attorneys.
Gary told the court that his firm had worked on the case over five years and for no less than 19,000 hours. Based on that, Gary was asking for about $4,900 an hour.
Moe decided on $20 million in fees and $2.9 million in costs. That would put the fee for Gary and his firm at about $1,050 per hour.
Gary and Motorola's lead lawyer said they were pleased with the ruling, even while expressing disappointment.
"Obviously, we felt it could be a bit more, but we can live with the judge's ruling," Gary said. "I'm very, very pleased."
New York lawyer Faith Gay, representing Motorola, called the ruling a "huge loss for Mr. Gary's firm" since the award was little more than 10 percent of what Gary had requested.
She said she would recommend to Motorola that it appeal Moe's ruling.
Gary, 59, is known for several high-profile victories, his dramatic courtroom presentations and his unabashed luxurious lifestyle. He has won a $500 million verdict for a client against a Canadian funeral home chain, $240 million from Walt Disney Co., and $139 million in a dispute with Anheuser-Busch Cos.
His Web site has a page dedicated to the splendors of his private 32-seat Boeing 737, named Wings of Justice II.
Moe was sending a message you can't cheat and get away with it. What a joke the Broward County courts are. Talk about the good ole boy network. Gary deserves no more than what the average attorney gets, but this is Broward. I seriously wonder if the judges down there are on the take. Either that or arrogance and the power corrupts everything theory explains their constantly stupid behavior.
For being Santa Claus to one overpriced and overrated lawyer, Broward County Judge Larry Moe is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
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