Pharrell and Thicke Tentative Fee Decision.
On March 14, 2016, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt (C.D. Cal.) orally announced a tentative decision that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke should not have to pay Marvin Gaye’s family $3.5 million in legal fees despite the fact they lost a copyright infringement case. The district judge was not persuaded the case was exceptional because the suit by Pharrell/Thicke seeking a noninfringement ruling was not filed or prosecuted in bad faith. This was just a tentative decision, with the motion being taken under submission for a ruling down the line.
Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Fee Recovery By Special PACA Trust Counsel In Bankruptcy Case.
We didn’t know this, but lawyers having specialization under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), legislation with heightened protections in favor of sellers of perishable agricultural commodities vis-à-vis buyers, are called members of the “broccoli bar.”
Commons. Attribution: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos.Wikimedia
The Fifth Circuit in In re Delta Produce, L.P., No. 14-51079 (5th Cir. Mar. 11, 2016) issued an interesting decision about the priority of an attorney’s claim to seek fee recovery for successfully obtaining PACA trust fund moneys for sellers over the sums held in the trust for the benefit of sellers. Basically, moneys owed to perishable good sellers are conferred special trust status with bankruptcy superpriority over any other creditors of buyers (even banks with blanket liens). In a word, Delta Produce recognized that attorneys successfully pursuing claims against PACA trusts on behalf of sellers cannot claim fee recoupment from the trust, absent sellers’ consent, absent retention as a bankruptcy professional (which would mean they would look to the bankruptcy estate rather than the trust, but with some recovery probably assured as a priority administrative claim from the b.k. estate), or absent a contractual fee clause allowing for recovery from the trust in the sales clause between the underlying parties.