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News - 2022

Mar. 2022

Mass. Lawyers Weekly spotlights firm's $22M countersuit in fee dispute and legal malpractice case

The firm’s $22 million countersuit filed on behalf of an Austrian construction company against Brown Rudnick LLP is featured in the March 14 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

The counterclaim by Christof Industries Global GMBH contests Brown Rudnick’s complaint seeking over $8 million for alleged non-payment of legal fees, and also asserts various claims against the law firm for over $22 million, including breach of contract and legal malpractice.

Christof Industries contends that the law firm agreed in writing “not to elevate the costs” above a $2 million budget in hourly fees for mediating and arbitrating a contract dispute stemming from a multi-million-dollar construction project for which the client’s subsidiary was hired to install production equipment.

The countersuit, filed by Benjamin J. Wish and Rachel Hutchinson in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, asserts that the firm routinely and repeatedly submitted legal bills far exceeding its monthly estimates due to an excessive number of attorneys working on the case, leading to inefficient, unnecessary, and duplicative work.

“Christof,” Mr. Wish told the publication, “alleges that Brown Rudnick staffed Christof’s case with 27 billable professionals and had them undertake duplicative or administrative work, like billing 40 hours of attorney time spent assembling binders, or taking far too long to do ordinary work, such as over 230 hours to draft a single direct examination.”

Christof is suing Brown Rudnick for legal malpractice because the firm at the underlying arbitration failed to present documents in its possession showing bad faith business practices by opposing parties, which would have entitled it to triple damages.

This “caused Christof to leave $22 million on the table,” Mr. Wish said.

Mr. Wish and Ms. Hutchinson previously persuaded the court to dismiss Brown Rudnick’s Massachusetts Chapter 93A unfair business practices claim.