Post-Settlement Funding for Court-Appointed Fees

Court-appointed legal fees can take a long time to materialize, stressing attorneys who have already spent years litigating on behalf of their clients with no compensation whatever. RD Legal Funding can convert your settled cases into immediate cash for attorneys with slow-paying court-appointed fees. Fill out the brief application to the right to find out if you qualify for our proprietary Fee Acceleration post-settlement funding program. Or, for a free consultation with one of our legal funding specialists, call 1-800-565-5177 today.

When Courts Appoint Legal Fees

Attorneys’ fees are the labor charges and costs charged by lawyers or their firms for legal services provided by them to their clients.
Generally, in the United States, under the so-called American Rule, each party is responsible for paying their own legal fees unless a statute or contract allows for the assessment of those fees against the other party. In some U.S. jurisdictions, a lawyer for the plaintiff in a civil case can take a case on a contingent fee basis which is a percentage of the monetary judgment or settlement. However if the plaintiff loses, the attorney may receive nothing.

Fees are shifted in these situations:

  • Class actions
  • Civil rights violations
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Copyright and patents cases
  • Antitrust actions
  • Lemon law cases
  • Suits against the federal government where the government’s position was not “substantially justified”

When the courts award legal fees, the amount of the fees is usually based on the reasonably expected billable hours multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate, sometimes multiplied by a factor reflecting the risk or complexity of the case. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 regulates the fees that can be awarded in a class action.

Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the assignment of attorneys’ fees. A claim for attorneys’ fees and related nontaxable expenses must be made by motion unless the substantive law requires those fees to be proved at trial as an element of damages. Unless a statute or a court order provides otherwise, the motion must:

  • Be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment
  • Specify the judgment and the statute, rule, or other grounds entitling the movant to the award
  • State the amount sought or provide a fair estimate of it
  • Disclose, if the court so orders, the terms of any agreement about fees for the services for which the claim is made

Subject to Rule 23(h), the court must, on a party's request, give an opportunity for adversary submissions on the motion in accordance with Rule 43(c) or 78. The court may decide issues of liability for fees before receiving submissions on the value of services. The court must find the facts and state its conclusions of law as provided in Rule 52(a).

By local rule, the court may establish special procedures to resolve fee-related issues without extensive evidentiary hearings. Also, the court may refer issues concerning the value of services to a special master under Rule 53 without regard to the limitations of Rule 53(a)(1), and may refer a motion for attorney's fees to a magistrate judge under Rule 72(b) as if it were a dispositive pretrial matter.

The Clayton Act of 1914 amended the Sherman Antitrust Act to exempt unions from the scope of antitrust laws. However Section 4(a) of the Clayton Act entitled prevailing plaintiffs in private antitrust actions to recover, in addition to treble damages, their reasonable attorneys’ fees. This attorney fee-shifting is a payment arrangement whereby the losing party of the lawsuit pays the fees for the prevailing party. The court has some leeway in setting the fees, which has led to extensive litigation in the district and circuit courts. The criteria for measuring fee awards have a subjective component resulting in very different results in cases involving similar facts.

In antitrust suits, when the plaintiff obtains a litigated judgment or a settlement, and the attorney had taken the case on a contingency, the plaintiff must pay his lawyer out of his recovery, unless the case was a class action. In that situation the lawyer receives only what the court concludes is an appropriate fee. However it can be years after the main case is over before the plaintiff gets his section 4 fee or the lawyer is compensated from the class recovery. A new litigation begins to determine what the fee should be, possibly including a decision, appeal, hearing on remand, a new appeal, etc.; certainly taking much more time.
Lobbying by conservative groups has led to restrictions in attorneys’ fees, for example in medical malpractice suits.

Let RD Legal Accelerate Your Court-Appointed Fees

Attorneys waiting on court-appointed fees are urged to contact RD Legal Funding which is positioned to provide immediate post-settlement financing. To start accelerating your legal fees today, please fill out the brief online application located at the upper right corner of this page. Or you can call RD Legal toll-free at 1-800-565-5177 to speak with one of our legal funding experts.


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