EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES FOR ATTORNEY FEE DISPUTES
Based in San Francisco, attorney fee expert John O’Connor’s services can be custom tailored to meet a client’s needs. From testifying as an expert witness, to submitting a declaration in support or in opposition to a motion for attorney’s fees, to regularly auditing a law firm’s invoice as litigation progresses, to consulting with a client in anticipation of an attorney fee dispute, Mr. O’Connor will leverage his expertise to fight for a just and equitable attorney fee award or settlement. The scope of Mr. O’Connor’s expert opinion can be as broad as a full entitlement and Lodestar analysis to as narrow as his expert opinion on reasonable hourly rates.
Mr. O’Connor has served as an expert witness in legal fee disputes throughout the U.S., in both state and federal courts, before arbitration tribunals, and in other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) forums. He has successfully certified and defended a client’s billing to ensure they receive their just compensation, as well as successfully attacked billings to obtain a reduction in attorney fees owed.
The National Association of Legal Fee Analysis (NALFA), a nonprofit professional association dedicated to the analysis of attorney fees and legal billing issues, has endorsed attorney John O’Connor as the Nation’s Top Attorney Fee Expert from 2017 through 2019. NALFA attorney fee experts “are judicially qualified expert witnesses who provide expert declarations on the reasonableness of attorney fees and expenses.” Mr. O’Connor has frequently lectured under the auspices of NALFA, leading seminars and CLE-approved courses covering attorney fee issues.
Mr. O’Connor’s analysis has been repeatedly lauded and adopted by courts in orders on attorney fee motions. Mr. O’Connor has leveraged his decades of experience as an attorney fee expert to master the presentation of his analysis, supporting his opinions with well-thought out demonstratives, synthesizing large volumes of data into easily digestible exhibits that are also frequently cited by judges in orders on attorney fee motions.
Class Action Results:
- In a class action lawsuit involving prisoners’ disability access issues venued in the Eastern District of California, my analysis helped defendants obtain a 50% reduction in attorney fees in a settlement agreement with plaintiffs’ counsel .
- In a prison class action lawsuit involving the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ Legal Mail Policy, my analysis helped defendants’ obtain a favorable settlement with plaintiffs’ counsel, reducing plaintiffs’ fee request by over 35%.
- In a New Jersey arbitration between two law firms concerning a co-counsel agreement between lead counsel and co-counsel that provided for a 45%-55% split of a Court-awarded $45 million fee. I opined that co-counsel was terminated for good cause and deserved a quantum meruit share of attorney fees of approximately $1.2 million. My analysis helped Kanner & Whiteley, LLC obtain a favorable settlement significantly reducing the fees owed to terminated co-counsel.
- In Duran v. US Bank, Alameda County Superior Court, No. 2001-035537 (Dec. 16, 2010), the first wage and hour class action lawsuit, the Court accepted my analysis over defendant’s fee expert, Mr. Schratz, who recommended an award of approximately $3 million. The Court awarded a 2.25 multiplier for a total fee award of $18,686,453.63. In his Order granting attorneys’ fees, Judge Freedman noted, “persuasive expert testimony presented by Mr. John D. O’Connor,” and finding “Mr. O’Connor’s opinions related to the lodestar analysis to be useful, insightful and well-reasoned.”
- Kesterson et al. v. CalPERS, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC502628, a class action lawsuit arising out of a failure to pay interest on benefits, plaintiffs’ counsel sought a Lodestar of approximately $3 million for over 6,000 hours of work. The Court accepted Mr. O’Connor’s analysis, reducing the number of compensable hours to 1,470.17, reducing plaintiffs’ counsel’s requested hourly rate from $625 to $475, and reducing the Lodestar to $574,711.80. In her Order granting attorney fees, Judge Palazeulos noted, “Generally speaking, the Court finds CalPERS’ expert John O’Connor’s analysis of Plaintiffs’ billing records to be more credible and thorough than Plaintiffs’ expert Gerald Knapton’s.”
Other Illustrative Results:
- In Tanner v. Mission Valley Cornerstone Property, LLC, a real estate dispute with an anti-SLAPP motion, Mr. O’Connor worked with non-prevailing party Mission Valley Cornerstone Property (MVCP). MVCP were not only on the hook for attorney fees on the anti-SLAPP motion, but, unlike its co-defendant, was a parry to the contract with an attorney fee clause. Mr. O’Connor successfully obtained over a 75% reduction in fees, with the court reducing plaintiff’s request of approximately $1.4 million to just over $300,000.