US opposes offer by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, to add Neal Katyal to its legal team for its bankruptcy filing due to the latter’s hourly rate of $2,465 .
The case is being used by Johnson & Johnson to settle charges that their baby powder and other talc products caused cancer. Thousands of cases of talc were assigned to a new subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, in October by the company, which insists the products are safe.
LTL asked the judge for permission earlier this month to add Katyal to its legal team, citing his and Hogan Lovells’ jurisdiction in federal appeals. The February judgment allowing LTL to file for bankruptcy has been appealed by a number of talc plaintiffs.
The U.S. trustee asked a New Jersey federal bankruptcy judge to block Katyal from being retained by LTL, saying his hourly rate was ‘significantly higher’ than partners at the other seven law firms currently involved in the case. ‘affair.
Partner billing rates at large law firms are often not made public because they are considered competitive business information. However, they are disclosed in some court documents, particularly in bankruptcy proceedings where a judge must authorize a debtor’s legal fees.
Katyal’s hourly salary is among the highest in the legal industry, according to publicly available information. According to a contract the company signed with an Oregon institution to conduct a workplace culture survey, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Covington & Burling, billed $2,295 an hour last year.
Katyal’s rate of over $2,500 is the highest he’s seen, according to Lynn LoPucki, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law who analyzes bankruptcy cases.
Katyal, a former acting United States Solicitor General who argued hundreds of issues before the United States Supreme Court, Court of Appeals.
According to the trustee’s objection, Jones Day’s LTL attorneys charged an hourly cost of $1,350. The highest rate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was $1,195; the highest rate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges was $1,579; and the highest rate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe was $1750. LTL is also represented by attorneys from King & Spalding and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.