Last October, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the reversal of a $32 million settlement against Domino's pizza chain won by former Provost Umphrey (PU) attorney Paul Ferguson Jr.
Ferguson had sued the chain on behalf of the estate of a married couple whose vehicle was struck head-on by a pizza delivery boy’s car.
With a history of suing numerous defendants, particularly the ones with the biggest assets, Ferguson wasn’t swayed that the delivery boy was driving his own car and that the chain had no day-to-day supervision over the operations of its franchisees.
The Texas Ninth Court of Appeals ruled differently and dismissed Domino’s from the lawsuit. When the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari, Ferguson lost his biggest target..
But it wasn’t a game ender for him. Same for any of the attorneys still on the PU premises. As of December 31, 2014, PU attorneys have brought in more than $1 billion in fees.
Ferguson was the second highest earner, amassing nearly $60 million in fees during his 26 years with the firm.
Only founder Walter Umphrey outperformed Ferguson, with more than $284 million.
The PU Millionaire's Club includes Gregory Thompson ($40M), alum Brent Coon ($37M), James Payne ($27M), Keith Hyde ($25M), Michael Hamilton ($24M), Joe Kendall ($24M), David Willson ($23M), Darren Brown ($21M), D’Juana Parks ($20M), David Brandom ($20M), Bryan Blevins ($18M), Joe Fisher ($17M), Guy Fisher ($17M), James Morris ($14M), Edward Fisher ($13M), and dozens of others.
The firm's attorneys have collected more than $200 million in asbestos litigation fees, more than $12 million is silicosis fees.
The prosperity of PU attorneys could be contrasted with the mostly hidden costs incurred by society when the businesses they attack are diminished or destroyed by lawfare, employees idled, and customers deprived of or paying more for useful products and services.
While they were getting a billion dollars in fees, how much were the rest of us losing?