After Sanctioning Keurig, Law Firm Winston Says It Will Seek $2.5 Million in Fees

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Legal offices of the law firm Winston & Strawn in Washington, DC REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • A March ruling said Keurig had to pay a fee for failing to record evidence in an antitrust case
  • Keurig lawyers call $2.5 million offer ‘enormous’

(Reuters) – Winston & Strawn is clashing with lawyers for Keurig Dr Pepper Inc over how much the beverage company must pay in legal fees as punishment for failing to preserve evidence in a long-running antitrust dispute in court Manhattan Federal.

The U.S. law firm this week asked a judge to set a timeline for resolving the fee issue, saying plaintiffs’ attorneys and Keurig’s attorneys were unable to reach an agreement on a amount.

Keurig’s attorneys at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney revealed in a court filing Thursday that Winston and attorneys for the other plaintiffs are seeking more than $2.5 million in legal fees. The Massachusetts-based beverage company called the amount “massive.”

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Federal judges are routinely called upon to deal with disputes over evidence, and courts have the power to order one party or the other to pay the legal costs associated with pursuing a problem that arose in a case.

The Keurig litigation began in 2014 over allegations that Keurig asserted monopoly power in the market for disposable cups used in single-serve coffee makers. The company denied any responsibility.

In March, a judge ruled plaintiffs were entitled to costs as punishment for Keurig’s failure to keep multiple laptops and a set of handwritten notes. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Cave’s order said Keurig “negligently implemented” a directive to employees to conserve materials.

Winston, representing plaintiffs that include food and beverage company TreeHouse Foods Inc, did not file a fee claim, so the $2.5 million figure could change.

On Friday, Winston’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A Keurig attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll did not immediately return a similar message.

A representative for Keurig also did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Lawyers for Buchanan Ingersoll said in their filings that the plaintiffs did not provide a full outline of the hourly rates that underlie the $2.5 million fee offer.

Keurig’s attorneys, which also include a team from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, are challenging the sanctions order, which the company called “contrary to law.” Keurig attorneys said the penalties could provide a “broad windfall” in fees for plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The case is In re Keurig Green Mountain Single-Serve Coffee Antitrust Litigation, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, MDL No. 2542.

For Applicant TreeHouse Foods Inc: Lauren Duxstad of Winston & Strawn

For Keurig: Mackenzie Baird of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Read more:

Keurig challenges ‘windfall’ sanctions order in U.S. antitrust case

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