Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially cases involving antitrust, oil and gas, and patents–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Case Roundup.


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shutterstock_313474802Big verdict

Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker Media made headlines four times — but only twice because of what the jury did.

You’ll recall that a trial in Florida produced a verdict in favor of Mr. Hogan on his claim that Gawker had gone too far with a sex video. Jurors awarded the Hulkster (Terry

imageThe Times’s Gretchen Morgenson asked in her “Fair Game” column whether making “financial executives personally liable for a portion of any . . . legal settlements” in class actions — regardless of personal fault — would cut down on bad conduct.

I bet it would.

But I have a better idea.

Promise to pay class action lawyers big bonuses for finding the actual bad guys and making them pay.
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FundingSizable expenses

A big commercial case can cost millions in expenses — by which I mean out-of-pocket costs that the plaintiff or its counsel must pay net of attorneys’ fees. A portfolio of cases — for infringement of a patent or family of patents, say — can run many millions more. Who will bear that burden? And what will it cost?
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Risk KnobPrologue

A story from a long-ago summer day highlights the big rewards that you can earn from taking purposeful risks.

In a little over a month, on August 5, 2015, 151 years will have passed since a commander took a gamble during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

The commander knew that the defenders had rigged

Flat as a PancakeGoing flat

In the last post, I reviewed the plusses and minuses of the hourly fee, which I said still strides the world of high-stakes litigation like a Colossus.

But a distinctive trait of the hourly fee — its extreme concentration of risk on the client — limits its appeal and threatens its longevity.

Billable Hours

Still dominant

The billable hour bestrides the world of high-stakes litigation like a Colossus. Whatever its prospects,¹ today it continues to set the baseline for expectations about attorneys’ fees.

Big firms charge by the hour, class action lawyers detail “lodestars” in fee applications, flat fees aim to smooth out hypothetical hourly charges, and