Yesterday, over at one of my favorite employment law blogs, Lawffice Space, Philip Miles wrote about a developing intercircuit conflict of particular interest to practicing attorneys. The post, entitled “Circuit Split: Attorney’s Fees Adjusted for Settlement Offers?”, introduces the following issue on which the First and Third Circuits have recently split:
Many employment law statutes allow successful plaintiffs to recover attorney's fees. The amount is set by the court. What happens when a party rejects a settlement offer, and is ultimately successful but not as successful as the prior settlement offer? Can the court take that into consideration? Jeffrey Campololongo picked up on a circuit split on this issue, and wrote about it in Circuit Split on Considering Prior Settlement Offers in Attorney Fees in The Legal Intelligencer (sub. req'd).
The post concludes with a question: “Will SCOTUS take up the case?” Perhaps so, as the Supreme Court has, in recent years, turned its attention to developing various laws that police the legal profession and the relationship between attorney and client. Take, for example, the Court’s latest term in which it decided not one, but four cases raising ineffective assistance of counsel issues. Here is a video discussing this trend (skip to minute 43:56):
Don’t expect to see this split in authority in the Supreme Court anytime soon, however; the Court will typically not review an issue on which the circuits are split until at least three circuits, and usually more, have taken a position on it. For more on this division, click here.