Biloxi Council Negotiating Over BP Legal Fees

The city of Biloxi is trying to get attorneys to reduce their 20 percent contingency fee on the settlement with BP.

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ILOXI, Miss. (AP) — The city of Biloxi is trying to get attorneys to reduce their 20 percent contingency fee on the settlement with BP.

In July, Biloxi officials accepted a $5.9 million settlement for claims of economic losses caused by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As it stands, Biloxi will pay $1.2 million — or 20 percent — in legal fees.

The Sun Herald reports the city wants lawyers to reduce those fees.

The city council met on the issue Thursday and will meet again on Aug. 10.

The city signed the 2012 contract with Biloxi law firm Page, Mannino, Peresich and McDermott. Law firm member Ron Peresich has said his firm hired several other lawyers to help represent the city and those firms will share in a percentage of the 20 percent contingency fee.

Tim Holliman, who represented Harrison County in its BP settlement, said he is against Biloxi's attempt to change the contract with the attorneys.

The attorneys worked 4 1/2 years with no compensation under the contingency contract, he said, and if BP hadn't settled with the local governments, the attorneys wouldn't receive any compensation.

"The lawyers take the risk," he said. "We did a good job."

Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said he wants to see that everyone is treated fairly including the citizens of Biloxi.

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