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Texas, N.J. Law Firms Get Suit Over Fees From Mesh Deals Tossed

March 25, 2020, 5:27 PM

Texas and Alabama residents who say several Texas-based law firms and a New Jersey firm took excessive fees in pelvic mesh settlements lost their claims, after a federal court in that state ruled Texas, not New Jersey, law applied.

The 40% contingency fees were reasonable under Texas law, and New Jersey’s cap didn’t apply, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey said Tuesday. Consequently, the plaintiffs’ class claims can’t proceed against the Potts Law Firm LLP, Bailey Peavey Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, and three other firms operating in Texas.

Debbie Gore and Doris Lance-Smith sued the firms, which represented them in pelvic mesh litigation in Texas state court, over attorney contingency fees allegedly set at 40% of the settlement value, according to the court.

A New Jersey firm, Nagel Rice LLP, allegedly filed short-form complaints for Gore and Lance-Smith in state pelvic mesh proceedings in New Jersey state court. But New Jersey court rules cap contingency fees at 33% for recoveries under $750,000, making the 40% fee improper, they said.

The court disagreed under the facts here. Texas has the most significant relationship to the plaintiffs’ claims, and so its law applies, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo said. And the fees were acceptable under Texas law, she said.

Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman represented the plaintiffs.

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; Blank Rome LLP; and Bressler, Amery & Ross PC represented the law firms.

The case is Gore v. Nagel, 2020 BL 108699, D.N.J., No. 19-14287, 3/24/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Steven Patrick at