Jun 14, 2010 8:13 PM by Chris Welty
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A House committee substantially reworked
a bill that would allow Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell
to hire outside lawyers on contingency - limiting the proposal only
to cases related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The measure, passed by the committee without objection, now
heads to the full House.
The Senate-passed version of the bill was more open-ended,
giving Caldwell the authority to use contingency contracts to hire
outside counsel in a large range of cases.
A contingency fee system would let outside lawyers get a
percentage of whatever damages are collected in a case, rather than
an hourly fee. All states except Louisiana and Wisconsin have the
ability to hire lawyers on contingency.
Senate President Joel Chaisson says his bill would put Caldwell
on equal footing with all the other attorneys general of the Gulf.