Charles Siller (represented by Frank Pitre of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy) prosecuted litigation which settled for $10 million cash and $20.5 million in property to be transferred to CWS Enterprises, Inc. ("CWS”), which Siller owns.
Later, Siller tried to renegotiate their contingent fee agreements. When Pitre and Co-Counsel declined to reduce their fees, Siller discharged them.
Pitre and Co-Counsel jointly demanded arbitration, and subsequently were awarded $9,150,437.90 and $2,497,325.07, respectively.
Mr Jim Wagstaffe of Kerr & Wagstaffe. In the above, Mr Wagstaffe offers his students legal counsel on how to avoid a traffic ticket. Wagstaffe urged the students to deceive law enforcement personnel. He stated: "Do what I do, put a CHP magazine in your car, so they think you are one of them."
A state court confirmed the arbitration award and entered judgment against Siller/CWS, whereupon Siller/CWS, defiant, each sought protection under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Pitre and co-counsel both filed claims ("Pitre claim”). Siller in his own case, and David Flemmer (trustee for CWS) object to the Pitre Claim arguing it exceeds the "reasonable value” of the services rendered by Pitre and Co-Counsel.
Not so, argue Pitre and Co-Counsel. The reasonable value of the services rendered to Siller/CWS has already been adjudicated by a California court, and is therefore binding on the Bankruptcy Court pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause and principles of Res Judicada and Collateral Estoppel.
Judge agrees with Siller and Flemmer, ruling that California law cannot trump the Bankruptcy Code per the Supremacy Clause.
With Civ Pro on his mind, Flemmer (represented by the Sacramento office of DLA Piper -- former host of CaliforniaALL) invites James Wagstaffe to testify as an expert witness as to the "reasonable value” of the services rendered by Pitre and Co-Counsel.
See below press-release from law-firm originally known as Kause & Kerr.