The multimillion-dollar restitution fight between former Jack Abramoff business partner Michael Scanlon and the law firm Greenberg Traurig appears headed to a federal appeals court in Washington.
A federal trial judge in Washington last month refused to allow Scanlon to challenge Greenberg Traurig’s demand for more than $17 million in compensation from him. Chief Judge Royce Lamberth said Scanlon failed to convince him that there’s any authority to challenge the firm’s demand for reimbursement.
Greenberg Traurig wants Scanlon to pay back the firm the money it spent to settle threatened or actual litigation stemming from a scheme that bilked a group of Native American tribes.
Scanlon’s lawyers at Ropes & Gray have argued in court papers in recent weeks that Scanlon owes nothing to Greenberg Traurig because the firm was liable in the same conduct that landed Abramoff in prison. Scanlon, who cooperated with prosecutors in a wide-ranging public corruption probe, was sentenced in February to 20 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.
Today, an attorney for Scanlon, Ropes & Gray partner Stephen Braga, filed court papers announcing the appeal of Lamberth’s ruling. Braga said in the notice that Scanlon is taking the dispute to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Braga declined to comment this afternoon.
The Williams & Connolly lawyers representing Greenberg Traurig in the payment dispute have said Scanlon should not be permitted to keep any money derived from the scheme. The defense lawyers, led by Williams & Connolly partner Kevin Downey, maintain Greenberg Traurig had no part in the crimes Scanlon and Abramoff committed.