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Citizens Legal Envtl. Action v. Premium Standard Farms, Inc.

Citation: 35 ELR 20023
No. No. 04-1748, (8th Cir., 02/01/2005)

The Eighth Circuit denied an environmental group's request for attorneys fees in an action stemming from violations of federal environmental laws because the group planned on keeping the money for itself. The group was originally represented by one law firm, but when the attorney representing them moved to another law firm, the group switched to that law firm as well. The case eventually settled, but before the settlement was reached and while the parties were negotiating, the original law firm, without the group's knowledge, directly negotiated with the defendants and came to an agreement by which the defendants paid a discounted amount of the firm's fees for work on the underlying actions. The group now seeks attorneys fees for work performed by the original firm, but rather than using the money to pay the attorneys who earned the fees and who had declared themselves satisfied with the fees already received, the group planned to keep the money for itself. Because this would be inequitable, the lower court properly denied the group's request for additional fees.