Judge in Jerry Seinfeld case slashes lawyers’ ‘staggering’ fee request

Comic Jerry Seinfeld and his lawyers are entitled to about $29,000 out of nearly $1 million in fees they requested for fighting off a copyright lawsuit over Seinfeld’s hit Netflix show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” a federal judge in Manhattan court said Friday.

The ruling by now-U.S. Circuit Judge Alison Nathan called the initial fee request “staggering,” and said the time Seinfeld’s lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher billed for their work on the case was excessive.

Gibson Dunn partner Orin Snyder did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.

A Gibson Dunn team led by Snyder won dismissal of the case in 2019. The plaintiff, Seinfeld’s former collaborator Christian Charles, alleged Seinfeld had refused to acknowledge his work in creating the show and sued the television star and comedian in 2018.

Nathan dismissed the case because Charles waited too long to sue, and she held Charles liable for Seinfeld’s attorneys’ fees last year after deeming the lawsuit unreasonable and “opportunistic.”

But Nathan slashed the vast majority of Gibson Dunn’s requested fee award on Friday. She said the firm’s attorneys had cited unreasonably high hourly rates and called the number of hours they billed “excessive by any measure.”

For more details: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan, October 18, 2016.

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