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Gas disaster lawyers contest reduced fees - Rivera: This should not be a windfall for attorneys

by Jill Harmacinski, Eagle Tribune

Attorneys involved in the $143 million Merrimack Valley gas disaster settlement want another opportunity to address the presiding judge, in part concerning their proposed payment of $28 million in legal fees and expenses.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, a vocal opponent of that payment, has asked Judge James Lang to cut the $28 million by at least 75%.

By his estimate, Rivera said attorneys involved in the settlement are making $44,000 daily for their work since the gas disaster on Sept. 13, 2018.

"No one wants to deny them the money they are owed. But there is no way this should be a windfall for these attorneys," Rivera said Wednesday.

He noted gas disaster victims went without heat, lived in temporarily trailers, and celebrated Thanksgiving Day in a public park — among other losses.

The four attorneys involved in the class action lawsuit, including lead attorney John Roddy of Bailey and Glasser LLP in Boston, filed a motion Tuesday in Salem Superior Court asking if they could file a "7-page supplemental memorandum."

In the supplemental memorandum, the attorneys say they will "concisely address" issues brought up at the final settlement hearing last Thursday, including two very recent cases directly relevant to Rivera's request for a reduction to the legal fees.


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