United States Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has ruled that the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, must pay only 20% of the legal fees requested by the estate of the late-Dave Kleiman.
According to March 16 court documents, the attorneys representing Dave’s brother Ira requested a total of $592,558 for legal fees for hourly rates of between $610 and $1,050, and roughly $66,000 in other expenses.
Kleiman estate requested nearly $660,000 in fees and expenses
Court documents show that Judge Reinhart found the quoted rates to be excessive, stating, “I am personally familiar with the hourly rates charged by the top civil litigators in Palm Beach County. Those rates range between $600 and $700 per hour.”
The case relates to Ira Kleiman’s allegations that Wright sought to fraudulently gain access to an enormous sum of Bitcoin (BTC) held by his brother, with the court ruling that “Satoshi Nakamoto” comprised a partnership between Wright and Kleiman during the proceedings.
Wright to pay nearly $166,000 in attorney and expense fees to Kleiman
Reinhart also rejected claims for work carried out by Kleiman's lawyers that did not relate directly to pertinent motions or hearings, was poorly specified, or took an unreasonable amount of time to complete.
The judge also noted difficulties in assessing the fees associated with a blockchain forensics expert contracted by Kleiman “because no information was provided regarding his hourly rate or how he spent his time,” determining that “$40,000.00 constitutes a reasonable expense.”
In total, Wright must pay $113,760 in attorney fees and an expense award of $52,040.
Attorney fees granted for efforts to compel compliance from Wright
Reinhart recently granted sanctions for “continued non-compliance” in failing to produce sufficient documentation evidencing his Bitcoin holdings.
As such, the judge awarded attorney costs to Kleiman for work completed toward efforts to compel Wright’s compliance. However, the lawyers were only granted rates of between 50% and 64% of that which was requested.