Downtown law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan sued former client and billionaire entrepreneur Darwin Deason Tuesday claiming the influential Republican political donor has failed to pay them $1 million in fees.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Deason hired the firm to litigate shareholder disputes against Xerox Corp. in October, but has failed to pay his bill. Deason is Xerox’s largest individual shareholder with a 6.1 percent stake in the company worth $459 million.
The complaint claims that the Xerox dispute was settled favorably within weeks of Quinn Emanuel being brought into the case, but that Deason has not paid the firm a cent.
“Despite requesting, receiving, accepting, and benefitting from Quinn Emanuel’s legal services and obtaining a successful settlement, Deason has failed to pay Quinn Emanuel,” the complaint reads.
Deason, who according to Forbes splits his time between Dallas, San Diego, and his 205-foot yacht, is a major political donor to former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. The billionaire founded Affiliated Computer Services in 1988 and sold it to Xerox in 2010 for $6.4 billion.
For legal industry gawkers, the lawsuit offers a peak behind the scenes of one of the world’s most profitable law firms – Quinn Emanuel is ranked No. 2 on American Lawyer’s list with profits per partner sitting at $4.4 million.
While the complaint is scant on details, such as which Quinn Emanuel attorneys represented Deason, it does show how in just 21 days the firm ran up a $1 million bill. After being told by the billionaire to “show some initiative,” Quinn Emanuel threw a team of eight lawyers on the case. Those eight attorneys billed Deason for nearly $600,000, which included work on a preliminary injunction and an opposition to a motion to dismiss the underlying lawsuit. The firm also included a “success fee” as part of its invoice, tacking on another $400,000.
Quinn Emanuel partner Jeff McFarland, who filed the suit Tuesday, did not immediately return a request for comment.
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