Transparency in Private Attorney Contracts Act: H.B. 227 (2013)

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Provides that any state entity seeking to enter into a


Provides that any state entity seeking to enter into a contingency fee contract must make a written determination that such representation is both cost-effective and in the public interest.  This must include details about whether the state has sufficient legal and financial resources to handle the matter on its own without a contingency fee contract; the expected time and labor required, as well as the complexity and skill necessary to handle the issues; and the amount of experience desired for the particular attorney services and the nature of private attorney’s experience with similar matters.   To ensure that the public interest is kept as the foremost consideration when cases are handled by private attorneys on contingency fee basis, the bill mandates that a government attorney retains complete control over the litigation.  The government attorney has supervisory authority, retains veto power over any decisions by private attorneys, may be contacted directly by defendants, must attend all settlement conferences, and has exclusive discretion over settlement decisions.   Contingency fees will be limited to 22 percent of the first $10 million; plus 20 percent of the next $15 million; plus 16 percent of the next $25 million; plus 12 percent of the next $25 million; plus 8 percent of the next $25 million; plus 7.1 percent of any recovery exceeding $100 million.  Total fees are capped at $75 million per action.  For transparency and accountability of public funds, contingency fee attorneys must keep detailed records of expenses and time spent on a case, which would be available to the state for inspection.  The contingency fee contract and all payments made are to be posted on the state’s Open Alabama website.

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