Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meningitis Attorney Slashes Fee Request by Nearly $1 million

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

One of the attorneys seeking reimbursement from the bankruptcy of a defunct drug compounding firm has slashed his fee request by nearly $1 million.
In a petition filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts, Florida attorney Melvin Wright and his Orlando law firm, Colling, Gilbert, Wright and Carter, reduced the claim for services and expenses from $1.35 million to $411,780.59.
Overall attorneys and other professionals involved in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center have filed for claims of about $17 million.
A Sept. 30 hearing has been scheduled to consider those claims.
In the filing Wright's law firm said the reduction included a substantial cut in his typical hourly fee, removing all fees for the services of paralegals and waiving certain other costs.
Wright's fees were included in an overall $3 million fee request for attorneys representing unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy. With his reduction, the total for the unsecured creditors attorneys drops to $2.1 million.
The unsecured creditors include victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by fungus tainted drugs shipped by NECC all over the country. Wright represents Kathleen Distler of Ocala, whose husband, Charles, died in the outbreak.
The outbreak sickened 778 patients, killing 78 of them.
Owners and former employees of NECC have been charged in a criminal indictment with multiple charges including second degree murder. They have all entered not guilty pleas and are scheduled to go on trial in April of next year.
Victims and some NECC creditors will share in an estimated $200-$215 million fund established during the bankruptcy.

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