CC and Brobeck end fight with a $5.5m settlement

Clifford Chance is hoping that its short-lived association with Brobeck Phleger & Harrison is finally over after a settlement was reached between the firm and former Brobeck partners.

The firm settled the long-running dispute – in which the former Brobeck partners alleged that Clifford Chance was responsible for Brobeck’s collapse – for $5.5m (£2.9m) on 17 December. The settlement halted an imminent auction for the rights to the litigation.

Clifford Chance was forced to raise the amount it must pay to the Brobeck partners from its initial offer of $3.75m (£2m). In early December it raised its offer to $4.5m (£2.4m) after a group of asbestos lawyers offered to buy the claim from the Brobeck group. However, the final settlement of $5.5m is still significantly lower than the $100m (£53.1m) damages claimed by the plaintiffs against the firm and former Brobeck chairman Tower Snow.

If December’s settlement had not been agreed, the KM Group – led by Californian asbestos attorney David McClain of Kazan McClain Abrams Fernandez Lyons & Farrise – was to bid against Clifford Chance for the claim.

Clifford Chance executive partner Chris Perrin said: “We’re pleased that the issue is now resolved.”

James Basile of Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco acted for Clifford Chance. Texan lawyer Mark Lanier of the Lanier Law Firm acted for the Brobeck plaintiffs. The Brobeck estate is managed by trustee Ronald Greenspan of FTI Consulting in Los Angeles.

Basile, Lanier and Greenspan were all unavailable for comment. Kazan McClain declined to comment.