Cobell attorneys face criticism over request for $223M in fees

The attorneys in the Indian trust fund lawsuit say they are entitled to $223 million in fees for their work but the request is coming under fire.

Retired Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the former chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said the request violates the settlement that he pushed through Congress. “I would expect the court to respond to the interest and the wishes of Congress on this—it would not be justified for the court to go beyond what Congress agreed would be fair," Dorgan told Indian Country Today.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chair of the committee, said he wouldn't have supported the deal if he knew the attorneys were going to ask for $223 million. He said the request would take money away from individual Indian beneficiaries.

The settlement included a cap of $100 million in attorney fees but it only comes into play if the court decides to go above the limit. If that happens, the Department of Justice will be able to challenge the award.

Get the Story:
Cobell Lawyers Seeking Further Compensation (Indian Country Today 2/23)

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