Weltman Weinberg & Reis has filed a motion with the court to have the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection cover the law firm’s attorney’s fees to defend itself in a lawsuit brought by the agency, which the law firm won last month.
The firm is seeking $1.2 million to cover its legal fees for defending itself, according to the motion, which was filed last week with the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Though Weltman prevailed at trial, the Bureau’s blind pursuit of its groundless case cost Weltman dearly, both in terms of the substantial expense Weltman incurred in its defense and the reputational harm that cost the firm valued clients and employees,” the company wrote in its brief, calling the suit an “abuse of power” by the BCFP.
The BCFP had filed a lawsuit against Weltman back in 2017, alleging the law firm misrepresented the level of attorney involvement in letters and calls made to individuals with unpaid debts. The BCFP filed the lawsuit in April 2017, alleging that Weltman was sending collection letters that made it appear as though they came from a lawyer and calling consumers and falsely misrepresenting that a lawyer was involved.
A copy of the motion in the case of Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection v. Weltman Weinberg & Reis can be accessed by clicking here.
In breaking down the $1.2 million, Weltman said it was for:
- Weltman incurred attorney’s fees of $608,925 for 1,001.75 hours expended on tasks related to pre-summary judgment filings and the discovery process.
- Weltman incurred attorney’s fees of $152,718.75 for 300 hours expended briefing summary judgment, including legal research, drafting its Motion for Summary Judgment, reviewing the CFPB’s Opposition Brief, drafting a Reply in Support, reviewing the CFPB’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, drafting an Opposition Brief, and reviewing the CFPB’s Reply
- Weltman incurred attorney’s fees of $61,762.50 for 83.25 hours expended in developing settlement strategy, preparing for and attending the case management conference, preparing for and attending mediation, and engaging in settlement negotiations with the CFPB.
- Weltman incurred attorney’s fees of $384,075 for 575.50 hours expended preparing for and attending trial.
“This case is the concrete example of what happens when the Bureau ‘pushes too hard’ and subjects an innocent company to unwarranted scrutiny in an attempt to regulate by litigating, rather than by establishing rules before charging a company with allegedly breaking them,” Weltman wrote in its brief. “The Bureau’s acting director has rightly characterized the conduct that led to the filing and prosecution of this meritless case as an abuse of governmental power, and the Court need not look further than that to find an ‘improper purpose’ here.”