A friend who practices bankruptcy law told one of us, “if this were my client, I’d be telling the bankruptcy law firm, “so let’s settle how much of your billings you are going to refund to us.” Of course, that assumes the client has some balls.” So true. NRA’s bankruptcy firm either went ahead with a hyper-expensive lawsuit without doing the most simple research (filing in bad faith, shouldn’t we at least claim some economic reason, do we want to be so obvious about a Virginia company into a Texas court?) or, knowing these things, advised NRA to file anyway, because … big fees! $300,000 for starters, and maybe a cool million. Our bankruptcy attorney friend even wondered why NRA filed in Texas. That’s in the Fifth Circuit, he said, and the Fifth is especially strict about no bad faith filings. The judge had to wonder whether when it was appealed, the Fifth Circuit wouldn’t just reverse him, but administer a stinging written slap.
We checked out the firm, and it’s a specialist in chapter 11 bankruptcy, so it’s hard to believe they were ignorant of these important issues. Or failed to think through: we are filing to escape the New York lawsuit, but the case rulings say filing to get a “litigation advantage” is a bad faith filing. NRA went into the case telling the world that the entire purpose was to “dump New York” and escape the Attorney General’s litigation. It claimed it was in excellent financial shape, that was no problem. Its attorney had to end his argument with the claim that NRA was not seeking a litigation advantage, what advantage could there be? The judge was surely wondering, if you don’t have a financial problem and don’t seek a litigation advantage, what are you doing in bankruptcy court? Did you do it for a lark?
But that might lead people to think about Bill Brewer, the person who is really running NRA these days. He was behind the bankruptcy idea (testimony was he picked the bankruptcy firm, so he must have had the idea first). His record to date? My memory, which is imperfect, is that earlier he did win a claim against the insurer for Carry Guard, but then he lost a Second Amendment case, paid NY to settle the NY Carry Guard suit, lost almost all of the NRA’s suit against NY, and lost two cases trying to stop the NY Attorney General’s subpoenas. He tried to get the NRA’s suit against NY treated as superior to NY’s state suit against the NRA, lost, and lost the motion to dismiss the NY Attorney General’s suit. He failed to get the federal courts to treat the cases against NRA as multi-district litigation. Right after that, NRA filed for bankruptcy, and lost that, too.
This wouldn’t be an impressive win/loss rate for an amateur, and it sure is unimpressive for a lawyer who bills at $1,400 an hour, whose firm was at one point billing NRA $97,000 a day. The attorneys I’ve talked to her tell me they’d consider $97,000 a very good retainer for anything up to a third degree murder case, and $97,000 was his firm’s daily billing to NRA.