DC Firm Loses Contingent Fee Appeal Against Whistleblowers

The Washington law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC failed to show it must receive a one-third contingency fee award in the event a False Claims Act suit pursued by its former whistleblower clients ended in a settlement, the Ninth Circuit ruled.

Relman represented the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley and council employee Mei Ling for several years in an ongoing case alleging federal housing fraud by the City of Los Angeles before the whistleblowers terminated their agreement with the firm.

A district judge properly concluded that a provision in the parties’ fee agreement providing for an …

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