Interest fee

SC Supreme Court approvals seek more than $75 million in fees from private attorneys

South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a judge must decide whether the state attorney general has the right to award $75 million of a $600 million settlement with the federal government over the storage of nuclear materials to private lawyers who helped broker the deal.

Government watchdog John Crangle sued fees paid in the 2020 settlement of the South Carolina lawsuit because the federal government repeatedly failed to meet deadlines for disposing of plutonium on the Savannah River site near Aiken. His South Carolina public benefit foundation said they were excessive.

Attorney General Alan Wilson argued he had discretion to determine the amount paid to private lawyers who assisted his agency. Law firms Davidson, Wren & DeMasters and Willoughby & Hoefer received $75 million, or 12.5% ​​of the overall $600 million settlement.

The state Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that Crangle had no legal right to challenge the charges.

Whether the $75 million was excessive will now be decided by a lower court.

In Wednesday’s ruling, the Supreme Court noted that the case is of great public interest because Wilson’s office has seven other similar deals with private companies helping his office with other lawsuits, including opioids, l insulin and Google advertising.

The General Assembly spent the remaining $525 million under this year’s budget.

This story was originally published September 14, 2022 10:19 p.m.