Bankruptcy Expert Professor Stephen Lubben Featured in WashPo on USA Gymnastics Case
While Larry Nassar victims wait, lawyers cash in on USA Gymnastics bankruptcy
One year after USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in the face of hundreds of lawsuits
filed by girls and women sexually assaulted by former Olympic team physician Larry
Nassar, the legal fight over the organization’s money has yet to produce a dollar
for an abuse victim.
For the case’s lawyers, however, USA Gymnastics’ bankruptcy has been a lucrative endeavor,
according to a review of court filings and interviews with experts, who said the $1,000-plus
hourly rates charged by the case’s top attorneys rank as extremely high for a bankruptcy
of this size involving sexual abuse victims.
Three lawyers have billed more than $600,000 individually in the first year of the
case, according to a review of legal bills filed in court, part of more than $7 million
in legal fees approved, by a judge, on a preliminary basis.
“In that universe, these hourly rates would be totally normal,” said Stephen Lubben, a professor at Seton Hall law school and an expert in corporate bankruptcies. “So
I guess the question here is, if [the lawyers are] doing this as a charitable exercise
. . . should they be acting more charitably?”