Prince Law Offices' challenge of fee allocation arbitration award unsuccessful

By Carrie Bradon | Jan 11, 2018

HARRISBURG – Prince Law Offices has lost its challenge of an arbitration award that allocated legal fees to three other firms that participated in a trial under an independent contractor fee-sharing agreement with Prince, according to a Dec. 18 Superior Court opinion.

In addition to Prince, the other parties to the fee-sharing agreement were McCausland Keen & Buckman (MKB), McNelly & Goldstein LLC (MG) and Jon S. Mirowitz. The firms all worked on a class action lawsuit filed against the city of Philadelphia.

Prince’s appeal to the Superior Court was filed after the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County rejected Prince’s request to vacate the arbitration award.

“After the underlying Philadelphia lawsuit was settled, a dispute arose between Prince and MKB, MG and Mirowitz over the proper allocation of legal fees as a result of the respective law firms’ efforts in prosecuting the action,” the Superior Court opinion said.

According to the opinion, arbitrator Harry T. Mondoil “entered a partial final award on Feb. 18, 2016, in favor of MKB, MG, and Mirowitz, but left open the issues of allocation of attorneys’ fees and arbitration fees/compensation incurred directly as a result of the arbitration process.”

On May 16, 2016, the arbitrator allocated some of the attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as administrative fees and arbitrator compensation to the defendants, the Superior Court ruling said.

The Superior Court said “Prince’s arguments before this court are (1) that the arbitrator ‘failed to apply binding precedent...;’ (2) that the arbitrator miscalculated the amount of time to which the respective parties were entitled…; and (3) that the arbitrator made legal and factual errors in awarding counsel fees to appellees.”

However, the Superior Court said the lower court's ruling was the correct one.

“None of these claims identifies a fundamental flaw in the process that deprived Prince of a fair hearing; rather, Prince merely attempts to relitigate issues to show the wrong result was reached. No relief is due,” the Superior Court opinion said.

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