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Lawyers’ share of stent settlement nears $15M

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in two class-actions over stents received at St. Joseph Medical Center are requesting almost $15 million in fees as part of the $37 million settlement, according to court documents.

The attorneys’ fees, plus nearly $600,000 for expenses, are scheduled to receive final approval Friday afternoon in Baltimore City Circuit Court, bringing four years of litigation to a close.

The plaintiffs and Catholic Health Initiatives Inc., the former owner of the Towson hospital, reached the settlement at the end of March. Each of the 273 plaintiffs who opt in to the settlement agreement would receive at least approximately $135,000. If less than 60 percent of the class opts in, the remaining funds would go back to Catholic Health, according to the settlement agreement.

The two representative plaintiffs will receive an additional $25,000 each, according to court documents.

The attorneys’ fees represent 40 percent of the settlement amount. Lawyers from Murphy Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore and The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos P.C. in Baltimore provided multiple affidavits in support of the settlement and their fees earlier this week as part of the joint motion for approval of the final settlement.

Theresa Fallows, one of the representative plaintiffs, said her agreement with the lawyers was that they would recover 40 percent of any award. Andrew Jay Graham of Kramon & Graham P.A. in Baltimore, an expert on legal fees, and Boston-based mediator Eric D. Green each wrote affidavits supporting the requested fees, as did retired Court of Appeals Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr.

“I am persuaded that both the settlement agreement and the Plaintiffs’ motion [for attorneys’ fees] are eminently fair and reasonable,” said Murphy, now a member of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, who is not otherwise involved with the case or the Murphy law firm.

William H. “Hassan” Murphy, managing partner of Murphy Falcon & Murphy, declined to comment Thursday afternoon because the settlement had not been approved. H. Russell Smouse of the Angelos firm did not return a call seeking comment.

A spokesman for Catholic Health was traveling and unavailable for comment.

The settlements include Catholic Health, St. Joseph and Mark Midei, a former doctor who performed many of the stent operations and is described in the federal lawsuit as the hospital’s “haloed rainmaker.” Both lawsuits accuse Catholic Health and St. Joseph of collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from unnecessary stent procedures.

The state-court lawsuit was filed in January 2010. The federal lawsuit, filed in January 2013, was stayed and administratively closed in March in light of the settlement agreement.

The two sides had their first mediation session before retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard S. Chasanow in 2012, according to Hassan Murphy’s affidavit. They began working with Green, co-founder of Resolutions LLC, in late 2013 and had 10 phone conferences and four in-person meetings between October 2013 and March, according to that affidavit.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers reviewed more than 57,000 pages of documents and conducted and defended 91 depositions, according to Smouse’s affidavit.

“The proposed settlement is the result of hard-fought negotiations between the parties’ counsel, and the sustained diligent effort on the part of Class Counsel,” Smouse said.

The case is Theresa Fallows v. St. Joseph Medical Center Inc., 24C10000817.