Jury finds law firm Foley Hoag owes expert fees

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  • The case concerned the representation of Venezuela by the company
  • The verdict came after three days of trial

(Reuters) – A District of Columbia jury on Thursday said Foley Hoag should pay $92,000 in damages to a legal expert who alleged the U.S. law firm failed to pay him for his work on a arbitration case involving his client Venezuela.

The jury’s verdict came after three days of trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Plaintiff Alejandro Salas Patron, a lawyer in Mexico City, sued Foley Hoag in 2018, alleging claims including breach of contract.

Other claims, including negligence, were previously dismissed. Salas also received interest, an amount that does not immediately appear on the slip. The trial took place before DC Superior Court Judge Ebony Scott.

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Salas’ attorney, William Wilson III of Wilson Williams, said Friday that Salas was “delighted that after unnecessary litigation” he was paid for services performed in 2016.

A Foley attorney who defended the firm and a representative for the Boston-based firm on Friday did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Foley’s attorneys had argued in the litigation, according to court filings, that Salas’ bills would be presented in Venezuela and he would be paid after the country paid the company. Salas was hired as an expert in Mexican commercial law.

Foley’s attorneys said in a May 2020 court filing that Venezuela owed the firm money for “legal services rendered and costs incurred, including the amount owed to Salas for his expert services.”

Company records have been redacted to conceal dollar amounts.

A representative from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a message Friday seeking comment.

Salas’ attorneys told the court that he “only agreed to contract with Foley because of his reputation, size and finances in the industry.”

In a pretrial ruling, the judge limited the plaintiffs’ ability in their presentation to shed light on Foley Hoag’s size and earnings. The firm employs nearly 300 attorneys and had revenue of about $293 million last year, according to legal industry data from the publication The American Lawyer.

Foley’s attorneys had sought to limit these details to the jury on the grounds that the company’s size and finances would be unfairly prejudicial.

The case is Salas Patron v. Foley Hoag, DC Superior Court, No. 2018CA008637B.

for the plaintiff: William Wilson III of Wilson Williams; and Luke McGrath of Dunnington Bartholow & Miller

For the defendant: Nicholas Renzler and Jonathan Bard of Foley Hoag

Read more:

US law firm Foley Hoag says finances barred in expert fee lawsuit

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