A key legal adviser to Baltimore attorney Peter G. Angelos filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleging that the Orioles owner is trying to cheat him out of his share of the $4.4 billion tobacco settlement.
The suit by Richard A. Daynard, a Boston law professor, is the second filed by a lawyer claiming Angelos reneged on a commitment in the tobacco case.
Daynard, who was recruited by Angelos' firm for his tobacco litigation team, asserted that Angelos agreed to pay him a $250 hourly fee and a percentage of the total legal fee -- which could be as much as $1 billion. Daynard alleges fraud and breach of contract, saying in the suit that he was paid $75,000 based on his hourly rate, but not the percentage, which was to range from 2 percent to 5 percent.
Angelos acknowledged yesterday Daynard's participation in the case but said, "As far as I know he was compensated for whatever contribution he made."
The suit is the latest tobacco-related legal battle for Angelos, who also is in a bitter dispute with state officials over his firm's fee.
Daynard says in the suit that his status as an expert with experience fighting big tobacco companies -- along with the expertise of lawyer Marc Z. Edell -- was a key to Angelos' winning the state contract over several competing firms.
Edell, a New Jersey attorney and consultant to Angelos on the case, filed a similar suit in 1999 that's pending.
Daynard, who started the nonprofit Tobacco Products Liability Project at Northeastern University, says in the suit that he "eventually helped convince" Maryland officials to sue the tobacco industry, and that Angelos "had no experience" in such cases.
But after the suit was settled in 1998, Russell Smouse, a senior attorney in Angelos' firm, refused to pay Daynard any percentage of the final fee, claiming that Daynard had rejected that arrangement.
Daynard's attorney, Christopher Brown, said yesterday that Daynard believes the fee arrangement was put into writing -- by Angelos. "We think there is something in writing. We think that Mr. Angelos has it," Brown said. "We hope that it doesn't get lost."
Sun staff writer Michael Scarcella contributed to this article.