Defense Attorneys Seek Fees in LaFrance-Sorensen Dispute

Whispers knows you've been wondering just how much the bad behavior by Rose Law Firm attorney Ryan Solomon and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the related civil and criminal cases against former USA Drug executive Garret Sorensen is going to cost them.

We don't know exactly how much ultimately will be allowed by U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson, who ordered Solomon and the federal prosecutors to pay the cost of their misadventures. But we do know that it won't be nearly as much as the defense attorneys initially tried to claim.

Pat James, the Little Rock lawyer who represents Sorensen and his wife, Katherine, in the civil case filed by USA Drug's parent company, Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings Inc., submitted a bill against Solomon for just over $50,000.

Most of it, more than $29,000, was related to preparing and successfully prosecuting the motion for sanctions that James filed after spending a wild day trying to pin down Solomon's client, Jason LaFrance, and ultimately deposing him in the garage of LaFrance's $2.5 million home on Edgehill Road.

James also filed a bill for $9,500 against the U.S. Attorney's Office for the cost of getting the civil case filed by LaFrance Holdings against the Sorensens moved back to circuit court.

Federal prosecutors, in a move that Judge Wilson said was unprecedented in federal judicial history, unilaterally moved the civil case that LaFrance Holdings had filed from state court to federal court, where they had already brought criminal charges against Garret and Katherine Sorensen and Katherine's sister, Shannon Walters.

Erin Cassinelli, the Little Rock attorney who is defending Katherine Sorensen in the criminal case, filed her own motion for attorney's fees against the federal prosecutors: $7,840.

In response, Wilson entered orders telling them to try again, with some suggested guidelines: "For one thing, a fee request against respondent Solomon of more than $10,000 will not be granted. A fee request against the other respondent (the Government) of more than $5,000 will not be granted."

Ted Boswell, the Bryant attorney who represents Garret Sorensen in the criminal case, and Chuck Banks of Little Rock, who represents Walters in the criminal case, didn't submit bills.

Case Dismissed?
You may recall that LaFrance Holdings decided to dismiss its civil case against the Sorensens and Walters rather than submit to depositions that their lawyers thought would be too helpful to the defendants in the simultaneous criminal case.

But Judge Wilson sent it all back to Pulaski County Circuit Court - after James filed a motion seeking to start a countersuit charging the LaFrance camp with defamation.

On Dec. 14, after the case was returned to circuit court, Solomon filed another motion to dismiss. But Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen still hadn't ruled on that as of last week.

The criminal trial is scheduled to start May 1, which will be nearly three years after the original indicment.