In many employment disputes, the recovery of reasonable attorney’s fees is an element a prevailing plaintiff-employee can recover. Some plaintiffs attempt to show the reasonableness of their counsel’s rates and fees by comparing it to the rates and amounts billed by the employer’s counsel. In In re National Lloyds Ins. Co., et al., the Texas Supreme Court recently held that attorney-billing information of the defendant (including information about hourly rates and aggregate attorney fees) is not relevant or discoverable where the defendant is not using its own fees as a comparator (e.g., a case where the defense counsel’s rates are lower than the rates sought to plaintiff’s counsel) nor seeking to recover any portion of its attorney fees.
Counsel representing employers will want to keep a copy of this opinion handy for resolving discovery disputes over the production of their rates and invoices.
You can download a copy of the majority opinion here.