Unsealed lawsuit alleges AG office kickback scheme

Depending on the total number of hours she reported to both firms, Martin received between $550 and $1,000 an hour, “well above” the average rate for Mississippi attorneys, according to court records. An attorney with 20 years of experience in commercial litigation earns an average of $250 to $450 per hour.

In a PERS lawsuit against Merck, Bernstein’s complaint alleged Neville asked the firm to assign work in the case to a family friend. The complaint also said two additional Mississippi attorneys who lacked securities experience worked on the case, but the suit doesn’t name the three attorneys and their law firms.

In 2011, Bernstein reported the alleged kickback scheme to the U.S. attorney’s office, and he resigned the next year.

After the case was settled, Bernstein and the law firm filed a joint request that the lawsuit remained sealed, arguing it contained confidential client information, could result in litigation with Mississippi and could damage the reputations of the firm and state.

Clarion Ledger
4/11/16