Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is This How The Professionals Do It?

It would make me extremely nervous to hire a lawyer and let him work for me for two months before having a written agreement as to his billing rate.

Maybe that's just me.  The Indianapolis International Airport hired a whole firm to represent them and went two and a half months before finalizing the terms of their arrangement.

From an open records request, I received four iterations of a letter of engagement of Doninger Tuohy & Bailey, LLP, by the airport.  This is the law firm the airport hired to file and support its lawsuit against the MDC, trying to kill off a Fast Park facility on a prime location within Ameriplex.

According to Brian Tuohy in an email to airport Chief Legal Officer, Joseph Heerens, he began doing work for the airport on March 1, 2012, which would be two weeks after the MDC hearing that the airport is now suing over, and two weeks before the lawsuit was filed.  As time passed, Heerens would inquire of Tuohy in multiple emails as to when he would get the letter of engagement.  March came and went.  No letter.  April 23 saw a court hearing before Judge Michael Keele.  No letter.

On May 3, Tuohy emailed a draft engagement letter to Heerens for discussion.  Attorney rates were noted in the text as $150.00 to  $325.00 per hour.

On May 11, an unsigned version of the engagement letter, with a start date of February 17 and an attorney hourly rate of $75.00 to $175.00 was sent by Tuohy to Heerens.

An identical letter of engagement has Heerens' initials and a May 11 date for that signing.

On May 17 a revised engagement letter dated the same day was sent by Tuohy to Heerens.   This was signed by both Heerens and interim IAA Executive Director, Bob Duncan, on May 18.  This version included a start date of March 1 and a limit of $70,000 for fees and expenses.

Well, at least it got done before the airport received an invoice.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

The same thing happened with the Barnes & Thornburg contract with FSSA. The contract was signed some nine months after they claimed to have started work.