New details on legal fees tied to 38 Studios lawsuit

38 Studios

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If the latest 38 Studios settlement is approved, the amount owed by taxpayers will go down, but legal fees will once again notch upwards, syphoning about 20 percent from the total that will help offset the ill-fated, taxpayer funded loan guarantee.

$450,000 from the $2.5 million settlement that would drop Schilling and three former executives of his now defunct 38 Studios from the lawsuit, will pay legal fees for this part of the case.

That will bring the total bill for attorneys involved in the various layers of the legal skirmish to just under $9.3 million. That does not include the defendants’ legal tab which has not been disclosed.

IN DEPTH: 38 Studios Coverage

The largest share of fees, almost $7.1 million of the total, has been paid to Max Wistow’s firm, Wistow, Sheehan and Loveley. Former Governor Lincoln Chafee hired the Providence group to file the lawsuit about four years ago.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has also paid Wistow’s firm almost $900,000 dollars for out-of-pocket expenses that included paying legal experts and photocopying the paper trail that includes more than two million pages.

The Commerce Corporation’s general counsel Shechtmen Halperin Savage has been paid just over $460,000.

The New York firm Cohen and Gresser was paid about $390,000 to represent Rhode Island in the Securities and Exchange Commission part of the investigation.

While the total of just under $9.3 million might be startling, state officials have said firms usually charge a contingency fee of 30 to 35 percent for this type of lawsuit. Wistow’s firm agreed to take about half of that, accepting a 16 percent contingency fee.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau

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