Stephen Shackelford had a grin approximately the measurement of Texas when he walked out of a Delaware courthouse following finalizing the biggest defamation settlement in record.
Shackelford, a associate at Houston-started Susman Godfrey, was a guide litigator for Dominion Voting Programs Inc. in its blockbuster lawsuit against Fox Corp. The media giant agreed Tuesday to spend $787.5 million to settle the situation, accusing Fox Information of bogus theories about a conspiracy to rig the 2020 US presidential election for Joe Biden about Donald Trump.
The settlement is a large get for Dominion and its non-public fairness owner, Staple Road Capital LLC. Shackelford and other litigators doing work on the case are also set to experience the rewards.
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Susman Godfrey is a litigation powerhouse regarded for taking huge ticket cases on contingency payment or employing alternative arrangements, alternatively than charging by the hour. Shackelford declined to disclose the terms of the firm’s get the job done for Dominion or how a great deal of the settlement cash will go to the company’s outdoors counsel.
The voting engineering firm “fought to carry the fact to light,” Shackelford said via e-mail. He added that he’s in no way represented a enterprise “that has ever experienced to go via what Dominion has.”
Spending the Legal professionals
Shackelford returned to Susman Godfrey as a partner in 2015 after shelling out far more than 3 yrs at Typical Electrical Co. His clients have included WeWork Inc. founder Adam Neumann.
The Fox Information scenario has been “well about 100%” of Shackelford’s caseload since Dominion submitted the lawsuit in Delaware in early 2021, he reported.
Susman, which include companions Justin Nelson and Davida Brook, led Dominion’s team, along with legal professionals from Alexandria, Va.-dependent Clare Locke, a company with defamation law expertise, and Delaware’s Farnan LLP.
The group squared off with a roster of seasoned litigators for Fox, including former US Solicitor General Paul Clement and veteran Chicago trial lawyer Dan Webb, co-government chairman of Winston & Strawn.
John O’Connor, a San Francisco litigator and attorney price professional, explained it is probable Dominion employed some type of blended payment arrangement with its exterior legal professionals.
“This is the sort of case that expected substantial resources to go after and also promised a fantastic end result,” O’Connor said. “There can be so several means you structure it.”
Contingency discounts, in which lawyers forgo upfront and ongoing fees in exchange for a piece of any winnings, are frequent amongst plaintiffs attorneys. Contingency service fees can reach one particular-third or much more of a judgment or settlement.
Dominion’s legal professionals may possibly have also turned to an outside funder, O’Connor stated. Or they may well have agreed to consider a reduced hourly payment in return for a lesser lower of the winnings.
Shackelford called Clare Locke “talented demo lawyers” and said Farnan companion Brian Farnan served “navigate all things Delaware” for Dominion’s out-of-state counsel. Rodney Smolla, a previous dean of the Widener University Delaware Law School and an specialist on Very first Modification law, also “played a vital function in our legal victories,” Shackelford claimed. Smolla final year became president of the Vermont Law and Graduate School.
Viet Dinh, main legal and policy officer for Fox, did not answer to a ask for for comment about irrespective of whether insurance policies would select up some of the company’s tab for disbursing Dominion’s defamation proceeds.
Webb also did not answer to a remark request. He labored closely with Clement as guide counsel to Fox.
Other firms representing Fox in the Dominion litigation were litigation boutique Lehotsky Keller, DLA Piper, Los Angeles-centered Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey, and Delaware’s Richards, Layton & Finger, in accordance to court docket filings. Ellis George hired name spouse Patrick Cipollone, a former White Household counsel in the Trump administration, to open up an workplace in Washington in 2021.
More Suits Looming
Fox is also experiencing related litigation from Smartmatic Corp., a London-based voting technologies corporation. That situation, which does contain litigation funding, is now in discovery.
Smartmatic’s lead outdoors attorney is J. Erik Connolly, a previous Winston litigator who joined Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff in 2018.
Connolloy served a meat producer land a multimillion-greenback “pink slime” defamation settlement, just one of the major on file, with Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC Information. Disney disclosed it paid $177 million beyond its insurance coverage protection in that deal.
As for Shackelford, he carries on to stand for Dominion in other court battles. The corporation has lawsuits pending versus conservative media retailers Newsmax Media Inc. and the Just one The us News Community, as perfectly as lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and businessmen Mike Lindell and Patrick Burke.
“These are all shifting ahead,” Shackelford said.
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