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Governor Says No $12 Million for Losing Lawyers
Plaintiffs' Lawyers Should Get Nothing From Bristol Bay Lawsuit


November 15, 2003
Saturday - 12:55 am

Juneau - Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski has requested that his Attorney General argue that Outside plaintiffs' attorneys who lost the Bristol Bay "price-fixing" lawsuit should not receive $12 million for their work, as is proposed in an agreement that will be presented to the superior court on December 4. Murkowski said the money should instead be split between fishermen and domestic processors, whose markets have been devastated by the lawsuit.

"These Outside lawyers came to Alaska, convinced the fishermen they could win a billion dollars, and lost," Murkowski said. "Now, they hope to take away $12 million in fees, on top of $4.5 million in costs. I believe the fees should be shared by those who have been hurt by this exercise in poor judgment, namely, the fishermen and the processors. This lawsuit has had a devastating impact on our markets, particularly in Japan. It will take a significant, concentrated effort to rebuild what has been lost."

The superior court will decide on the disposition of $40 million in the agreement, which was generated when two of the defendant processors settled their part of the lawsuit before it went to trial.

Murkowski said that under the agreement each of the 4,500 fishermen would receive a share of $9.7 million, averaging a little over $2,100. Adding another $6 million to their portion could make a significant difference to many of them.

"And I think it only fair that the processors should get the other half," Murkowski said. "They had their industry turned upside down. Their managers were sitting in depositions and in court instead of attending to business. They now have to reconstruct an industry left in shambles, while the Outside lawyers left town in a limousine. That's not justice."


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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