Attorney fees an issue as Cobell settlement moves ahead in court

Fees for the attorneys who have worked on the Indian trust fund lawsuit for the past 14 years are in the hands of a federal judge.

The $3.4 billion settlement to the case caps the fees to $99.9 million, with additional money coming for work performed since December 2009. But the plaintiffs say they are entitled to as much as $223 million.

Judge Thomas Hogan, who is the third judge to handle the case, will determine the final figure. If it falls between $60 million and $99.9 million, the plaintiffs and the Obama administration will not dispute the amount.

On December 21, Hogan gave preliminary approval to the deal, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama last month. Hogan authorized a $20 million program to inform Indian beneficiaries of their rights and named J.P. Morgan as the bank that will handle the distribution of the settlement.

Get the Story:
Cobell lawyers say they deserve more (Indian Country Today 1/4)
A banner year for Cobell, but continuing controversy (Indian Country Today 12/28)
Judge: D.C.'s IOLTA Program Doesn't Govern Cobell Settlement (The Blog of Legal Times 12/22)
D.C. Judge Gives OK to $3.4B Cobell Settlement (The Blog of Legal Times 12/21)

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

Relevant Documents:
Elouise Cobell | President Obama | DOJ/DOI/USDA | Roll Call
NCAI | Sen. Dorgan | Sen. Baucus | Rep. Cole | Rep. Pallone

Related Stories:
Shoshone-Bannock landowner not optimistic on trust reform at DOI (1/3)
Cobell expects settlement payouts within 8 to twelve months (12/17)
Joint motion filed over preliminary approval of Cobell settlement (12/14)
Editorial: Long awaited justice over Indian trust fund settlement (12/13)
Jen Bloom: Cobell settlement no victory for Indian beneficiaries (12/13)
Democracy Now: Obama signs bill with Cobell settlement into law (12/9)
President Obama to sign bill with Cobell settlement this afternoon (12/8)
Obama to sign bill with Cobell settlement into law on Wednesday (12/6)
Column: A little justice for Indian land owners in trust settlement (12/6)
Column: Years of hard work end with settlement in Cobell lawsuit (12/6)
Elouise Cobell provides update on status of trust fund settlement (12/3)
Sen. Baucus to hold press conference in Montana for Cobell case (12/2)
Ken Salazar: Settlements fulfilling our promises in Indian Country (12/1)
CNC: Reaction from Elouise Cobell on final passage of settlement (12/1)
Cobell settlement heads to White House after clearing Congress (12/1)

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