According to court records, Hogan Lovells and juice maker POM Wonderful are trying to work out their fee dispute without going ahead with a trial. In D.C. Superior Court filings, POM has said it is engaged in “intensive discussions” with Hogan to resolve their dispute over $666,000 in allegedly unpaid legal fees.
Hogan’s suit against POM stems from work the firm performed on a 2009 Federal Trade Commission inquiry. Hogan alleges in its Feb 22 complaint that POM has failed to pay for that work. POM has fired back at the firm in court filings, attacking Hogan’s work and calling its fees "exorbitant."
POM has also tried to keep the identity of the agency looking into the company from being disclosed. After The National Law Journal obtained court records that identified the FTC as the agency and tried to publish that information, POM obtained a temporary restraining order against the newspaper, barring it from publishing the agency's name.
POM asked Judge Judith Bartnoff, who is presiding over the case, to drop the TRO on Aug. 2 after the NLJ filed an emergency appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals.
On Aug. 6, POM’s lawyer Barry Coburn of Coburn & Coffman asked for a two-week extension to the deadline for filing an answer to Hogan’s complaint, citing ongoing discussions between Hogan and POM about how to resolve the case.
Coburn wrote in that request that “the possibility of mediation is actively being discussed” and that his client has filed a formal request to move the case into arbitration.
Bartnoff has also agreed to postpone a scheduling hearing twice as those discussions continue. The first was to be held on Aug. 20, but because Bartnoff granted Coburn’s request for a two-week extension to file his answer, she pushed back the hearing date until today.
Bartnoff then agreed to postpone the hearing again because Coburn had a prior engagement in New Jersey and wouldn't be available today. The hearing has been rescheduled for Sept. 24.
So far, Hogan has consented to POM’s requests to postpone the hearings and the date by which POM would file its answer to Hogan’s complaint, court records say.
But lawyers in the case are staying mum on its status.
Both Randell Ogg, a Washington-based solo practitioner representing Hogan in the POM case, and the firm’s general counsel George Mayo, declined to comment when reached by phone today. Coburn also declined to comment.