Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald
The United States government paid over $3 billion dollars last year to settle lawsuits brought against it, according to a recent National Law Journal article.
A significant portion of the money settled lawsuits brought by utilities arising out of breach-of-contract lawsuits for storage of spent nuclear fuel.
Huge sums were also spent by the Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior. Both agencies settled big cases with Native Americans.
Some believe transparency is lacking on such settlements at least in certain kinds of cases. Legislation on that issue is languishing in Congress.
Some of this legal work was probably handled in house; it seems likely, however, that a significant percentage was done by outside counsel. It raises an interesting issue about the amount of attorneys fees paid by the government.
$3 billion dollars is a lot of money – obviously – but then the United States government is a big operation with lots of potential exposure.
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