A D.C. Superior Court jury today ruled in favor of a former Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal partner who alleged the firm underpaid him for his work in representing victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The jury said Douglas Rosenthal, a former antitrust partner in Washington, should have received $1.4 million in base pay for 2005 and 2006, said Constantine Canon partner Gary Malone, an attorney for Rosenthal.
A policy and planning committee at Sonnenschein, now SNR Denton, set Rosenthal’s base pay at $800,000 for the years in question. Rosenthal, now a Constantine partner in Washington, sued his former firm in 2005 over claims the firm did not fairly give him credit for work on the terror case against Libya. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed liability but simultaneously granted Rosenthal the opportunity to pursue a new trial for damages.
Following a two-week trial in Superior Court, the jury began deliberating Friday afternoon. The panel came back this morning shortly before noon, said Malone, who represented Rosenthal with Constantine partner Robert Begleiter, a founding lawyer of the firm.
“We’re gratified the jury agreed that he was substantially undercompensated" and that Sonnenschein did not give Rosenthal adequate recognition "for the amazing work he did” in representing the victims of the Pan Am airplane bombing, Malone said in an interview.
Malone said Rosenthal is expected to receive about $2.1 million after adjusting for Sonnenschein profit for 2005 and 2006 and for the compensation Rosenthal received from the firm and from Constantine during those years. Rosenthal left Sonnenschein in 2005. More background on the case here and here.
Two lawyers for Sonnenschein—Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Michele Roberts and Bingham McCutchen partner James Hamilton—were not immediately reached for comment this afternoon.
A spokeswoman for Sonnenschein, Elyse Blazey, said in an e-mail: "Our firm remains proud of the efforts by 129 partners, associates, paralegals and other professionals throughout our firm, who spent over 18,000 hours, in successfully pursuing claims for our clients in the Pan Am 103 litigation. This matter involved a substantial investment and risk for all our partners, and Mr. Rosenthal was well compensated for his contributions to the firm's efforts."