Bill Cosby is fighting a $6.7 million lawyer bill
PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby is challenging an arbitration decision that mandated he pay nearly $7 million in fees to a law firm that represented him for nine months in 2015 and 2016, documents show.
The final result of the arbitration was filed in January and upheld a $6.7 million bill Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan had charged Cosby — $4.3 million of which had already been paid, $2 million by Cosby and $2.3 million by his insurer, AIG. $2.4 million remains to be paid.
Originally, the law firm was requesting more than $9 million for its total bill. But that amount was trimmed during arbitration.
Cosby wants the arbitration thrown out and a new hearing with a different arbitrator to settle the dispute.
In the documents, filed in a California court on Friday, Cosby says he hired Quinn Emanuel to represent him after “public claims of sexual misconduct against [him] began to snowball at the end of 2014,” and that the firm ended up working on 10 different matters representing Cosby. At that point, Cosby had the firm on a retainer.
However, Cosby claims that the partner in charge of his cases, Christopher Tayback, son of actor Vic Tayback, did not talk to Cosby about the specifics of the retainer contract prior to its signing.
Cosby is now serving three to 10 years in a state prison after he was convicted last year of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 15 years ago.
Cosby’s spokesman Andrew Wyatt refused to comment on the matter, and Quinn Emanuel did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. Calls to AIG for comment were not returned.
In the original letter demanding arbitration, Cosby’s attorneys write that despite knowing of Cosby’s blindness,Tayback did not read the agreement — which would end up with Cosby paying about $1 million per month — to him or try to make sure he understood its contents.
The same court filing outlines several claims against Quinn Emanuel, including negligence, fraud and deceit, and elder abuse. The latter citing a California Welfare and Institutions Code that details conditions for “financial abuse of an elder” where a person or entity takes actions knowing they are “likely to be harmful to the elder.”
Cosby also accused AIG and Quinn Emanuel of failing to disclose a conflict of interest for not revealing the fact that the insurance company had previously and was continuing to use the firm’s services on other legal matters, and the firm had knowledge that AIG had filed declaratory relief actions against Cosby — seeking to avoid having to cover his legal fees to be paid to the very same firm.
A hefty bill
With hourly rates ranging between $490 to $1,075, Cosby says Quinn Emanuel charged him for more than 650 hours and more than $500,000 dollars for his wife’s deposition alone.
Among the items in the law firm’s bill, Cosby says were hourly rates for time one of the lawyers spent “reading two gossip novels and a biography regarding Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Mansion.”
The arbitration panel then decided that the $48,552 billed for that time was out of line, since the lawyer in question didn’t need the information for the deposition he was working on, neither did he “provide testimony why an associate or paralegal could not have provided a summary.”
The panel also decided to strike a line of $30,384.50 for preparing a complaint that was never filed because of a conflict of interest with Quinn Emanuel.