RICHMOND, NOV. 25 -- U.S. District Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr. today halted further payment of lawyers' fees in the A.H. Robins Co. bankruptcy case until the proceedings are concluded.
In an order entered in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Merhige said there has been "an apparent insistence" of some parties in the case to use more than one attorney even in uncomplicated motions. "Further, the fee applications of a number, though not all, of counsel appear on their face to be excessive," said Merhige. Robins filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August 1985.
Merhige observed that some attorneys in the case have insisted on litigating "to the fullest every issue." Such maneuvering, he said, has prolonged the case and tended to "deplete the assets of the debtor not only to its detriment, but to the detriment of thousands of claimants and other creditors."
Merhige is considering what value to put on thousands of claims filed by women against Robins for injuries received when they used the Dalkon Shield intrauterine birth control device. His decision is expected within two weeks.
Merhige and Shelley presided earlier this month over a six-day hearing on the value of the claims, which have been estimated from $1.6 to $7.2 billion.