Jenner & Block allegedly walks away from contingent fee client without just cause, but still wants to be paid $3m

I testified as an expert in this case a long time ago, and it's now on appeal — Parallel Networks, LLC v. Jenner & Block LLP, NO. 05-13-00748-CV in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas, in Dallas.  The opening brief was just filed.

Boiled down, J&B represented Parallel Networks (PN) in a patent suit, doing so on a contingent fee.  J&B lost summary judgment of noninfringement after the Markman hearing.  J&B advised PN that its case was relatively worthless and advised PN to settle for what it could get. Concluding that it was not in the firm's economic interest to continue to represent PN, J&B dropped PN as its client.

PN hired other counsel, appealed the case to the CAFC, and got the claim construction reversed.  Then the accused infringers ponied up settlement money… a lot of money.

And J&B then demanded $10m in fees, seemingly based on its full hourly rate.  PN refused to pay and the fee dispute went to arbitration.  An arbitrator apparently awarded quantum meruit, somewhere north of $3m. PN is appealing the district court's affirmance of the arbitral award.

I shall try to post the brief and a link to it.  Let's just say that it's quite an interesting read, especially if you read the contingent fee agreement's termination provisions.  

All of this post, to be clear, is based upon statements in PN's brief, and there's obviously a lot more in the brief about who did what and so on, and no doubt J&B will tell a different story.

About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.