There is an ongoing legal arbitration between NRA (meaning Wayne LaPierre) and Chris Cox, the purged former head of NRA-ILA. The issues relate to his separation agreement. Bill Brewer is the attorney handling NRA’s side. Cox’s side is handled by the big law firm Winston and Strawn.
Arbitration is supposed to be a simple way to settle legal fights, much less costly than going to court. But we know from the failed bankruptcy suit that this arbitration fight is all over $2 million, yet NRA had paid $8 million in fees to date! (See our attorney friend’s report on testimony in the bankruptcy case, and see a copy of just one Brewer billing on the case, for $422,000). $8 million, even if the attorneys billed at $1,000 per hour, that would equal 8,000 hours of work, or 1,000 full-time days of work on this one case.
It’s about to get even more expensive. Brewer must have sensed he was going to lose the arbitration (clue: the arbitrator ordered NRA to pay an advance against Cox’s legal fees), because he filed a separate lawsuit for damages against the arbitrator’s employer, and against Cox’s attorneys Winston and Strawn. The ground? The arbitrator had emailed a racist joke (and accidentally included the Brewer attorney handling the case) and it was discovered that the arbitrator was “golfing buddies” with one of Winston and Strawn’s partners (but not the attorney it had assigned the arbitration to).
We asked several attorney friends about this, and they just laughed. You can’t sue an arbitrator, anymore than you can sue a judge. And you can’t sue the opposing attorney. Winston and Strawn is a gigantic firm with over a thousand attorneys, the arbitrator golfs with one of them, so what? “This lawsuit is a sure loser. If any client came to me with it, I’d tell him just that, and if he offered to hire me anyway, I’d say I’ve got better things to do than embarrass myself by filing a sure loser.” They assigned a new arbitrator to the case, get over it. (For another insight, read this: “It is utterly unclear what the NRA hopes to gain from this stunt, but we can surmise that it seems to be an effort to win plaudits from the left. If that’s the case, it won’t work.”)
Guess what? It lost. The judge even confirmed the arbitrator’s order that NRA pay an advance toward Cox’s legal fees, since the new arbitrator had agreed that the former arbitrator was right there.
Now, Brewer and another attorney have appealed the judge’s ruling. We guess the appeal means another million or two in their pockets. Remember that part about arbitration being meant to simplify things and reduce legal costs?
At this point, we can’t keep track of how many times the Brewer firm has filed a suit for NRA and lost. One or two lawsuit against New York, a challenge to the Attorney General’s suit, one or two challenges to her subpoenas, a Second Amendment case, the bankruptcy (the Brewer firm recommended all the attorneys and wanted to bill $3 million for its work), the “Carry Guard” suit. These are the attorneys chosen to handle the NY Attorney General’s suit to dissolve the Association.
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