Bill Cosby is suing his former lawyers for charging him $1 million per month for legal defense when he did not have a clear understanding of the payment agreement because of his blindness.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Cosby filed a petition on Friday, April 19, to reverse an arbitration award given to his former law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Bill Cosby and his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt in the courtroom during his trial sentencing in September 2018. | Photo: Getty Images
The firm represented Cosby, 81, until 2016 and both parties have been fighting in arbitration over attorneys’ fees since then, reports the outlet.
A judge awarded the firm $2.4 million in January 2019, but now, the comedian/actor is claiming his lawyers charged him nearly $9 million in nine months.
The court documents contain a breakdown of the amount, including over 11,000 working hours and 28 attorneys that were hired across five cities to handle Cosby’s case.
Cosby, however, insists that he did not have a clear understanding of his agreement with the lawyers because of his blindness. He claims he could not read the contract and that no one read it to him either.
"Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone. He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims."
“Quinn Emanuel’s staffing decisions and billing practices were egregious and resulted in fee [sic] that were totally and completely unconscionable,” he reportedly said in the petition.
Meanwhile, the law firm argues that the amount is justified because Cosby’s case (parts of his criminal case and ten different cases related to sexual assault) was a high-stakes one:
“The amount at stake was monumental. Cosby retained Quinn to represent him in a criminal case which he faced the possibility of what would effectively be life imprisonment, along with the loss of his legacy and reputation. He also faced exposure to substantial and punitive damages in civil cases.”
“At one point three of his accusers demanded that Cosby establish a 100 Million dollar fund to pay settlements,” the firm added.
Bill Cosby being led away in handcuffs after his sentencing in September 2018. | Photo: Getty Images
Cosby questions the firm’s long hours on his cases since he eventually had to pay settlements to his accusers and is currently serving 3-10 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated indecent assault in September.
Cosby and his present legal team believe his former law firm financially abused the disgraced star and that they have a conflict of interest presented in their relationship with Cosby’s insurance firm, AIG; the same insurer that has been paying settlements to Cosby’s accusers without his approval.
Earlier this year, Cosby denied reports of making the settlements in a statement to USA Today through his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt.
"Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone. He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims. AIG (Cosby's insurance carrier) decided to settle these cases, without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby.”
"Mr. Cosby vehemently denies the allegations brought against him in these defamation suits and he maintains his innocence," the statement concluded.