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Division of spoils

Directly below we cite Michael D. Hausfeld in the New York Times article about tort wars, discussing the future for litigation overseas.

Turns out many in Europe are already familiar with Mr. Hausfeld, as recounted in this October, 2004, article in the German political magazine, "Cicero" entitled, "The Business of Suffering." Our quick translation of a few paragraphs follows.

Payments from the foundation, "Memory, Responsibility and the Future" to forced laborers under the Nazi regime are entering their final stage. Also in the balance are the enormous fees flowing to the U.S. attorneys.

It's 7,700 against 7.7 million. The 7,700 Euro is the highest amount that an individual Nazi-era forced laborer can claim as damages. The 7.7 million Euro, that's the highest fee that the New York attorney Melvyn Weiss can add to his checking account for his work on the case. His colleagues are also earning hefty sums: 6,1 million Euro is going to Michael Hausfeld from Washington, 5.1 million to the New York law professor Burt Neuborne. In total, 51 attorneys will divide about 60 million Euro among themselves.

Certainly not a flattering story about the American legal profession.

Mr. Hausfeld has been in the U.S. news recently as an attorney in the suit Isuzu Motors v. Ntsebeza. That's the Alien Tort Claims litigation suing U.S. and foreign companies for having conducted commerce with apartheid-era South Africa, consistent with U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. Supreme Court failed to get a quorum to hear the case because of recusals, which means the suit remains alive at the appellate level. (Earlier Point of Law.com post here.)

Wonder what the division of spoils might be in that one?

P.S. Google searches in German, Spanish and French turned up no recent news stories about Mr. Hausfeld.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.