Negotiations between six legal firms over $8.3 million in attorney’s fees awarded from Tezos’ $25 million class-action settlement has descended into “unseemly mudslinging,” according to lawyers representing Block & Leviton LLP (B&L) and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.
The $25 cash million settlement agreement with Tezos (XTZ) was approved in September, ending class-action claims that the firm distributed unregistered securities through its 2017 initial coin offering (ICO).
On October 7, the two firms asked U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg to deny a motion for counsel fees filed in September by Hung G. Ta Esq. PLLC (HGT), LTL Attorneys LLP, the Restis Law Firm PC, and Lite DePalma Greenberg LLC.
The motion sought an order compelling Block & Leviton to return funds it had “unilaterally” distributed to itself and other firms, characterizing the firm’s actions as “brazen misconduct.”
According to HGT, B&L’s distribution would allocate 25% of the total fees to itself, and 50% to Robbins Geller — a firm that was involved with the case but not docketed in the matter.
But attorneys representing the Block group described HGT’s motion as being “devoted to unseemly mudslinging, inaccurate accusations of deceit, and unfounded claims of violations of the rules of professional conduct,” claiming that HGT Law group had been aware of fee distribution since December 2019:
“[HGT] never proposed a different fee allocation until after fees were awarded and sat on its hands until B&L sought to distribute the money […] None of these reckless charges survive scrutiny.”
B&L claims it is willing to resolve the matter through informal discussions or formal dispute resolution mechanisms should HGT withdraw their motion without prejudice.