Mayer Brown filed a breach of contract lawsuit (PDF) yesterday in District of Columbia Superior Court against former client Pacific Seafood Group, claiming unpaid fees in excess of $5 million.
The firm represented Pacific, a global seafood processing and distribution company based in Clackamas, Ore., against a series of antitrust claims, including a class action in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and a state government investigation. According to the complaint, the firm stopped representing the company in February because of nonpayment of fees.
Mayer Brown claims Pacific paid part, but not all of the fees it owed. The firm is suing for more than $5 million, which includes $3.8 million in fees, an additional $1.3 million for a discount the firm had originally provided, and interest.
A Pacific representative did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesman for Mayer Brown, Robert Harris, said the firm does not comment on pending litigation.
According to the complaint, Pacific hired Mayer Brown attorneys from the Washington office in July 2010. From the fall of 2010 through the summer of 2011, according to the complaint, Pacific never fully paid invoices sent by the firm. The company "requested that Mayer Brown be patient and continue rendering professional services," the firm said in its complaint.
Mayer Brown reached a breaking point early this year and told Pacific it would be ending its representation, according to the complaint. The firm moved to withdraw from the Oregon case on Feb. 15, but didn't address the fee issue in that filing.
"Mayer Brown is now informed and believes that Pacific intentionally misled Mayer Brown and caused it to provide legal services, while intending not to pay for such services and not informing Mayer Brown of its intent," the firm wrote in its complaint. Firm attorneys Carmine Zarlenga, Elizabeth Oyer and Phillip Dupré are representing the firm.
Pacific settled the antitrust class action in April. The plaintiffs agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for a series of "pro-competitive" promises from the company.
The case is assigned to Judge Todd Edelman. A scheduling conference is set for Oct. 19.