2015 Arkansas Code
Title 25 - State Government
Chapter 16 - State Officers
Subchapter 7 - Attorney General
§ 25-16-714 - Procurement of contingency fee contracts.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Government attorney" means an attorney employed by the state as a staff attorney in the Attorney General's office;
(2) "Private attorney" means a private attorney or law firm; and
(3) "State transparency website" means the website developed by the Department of Finance and Administration under the Arkansas Financial Transparency Act, § 25-1-401 et seq.
(b) (1) The Attorney General shall not enter into a contingency fee contract with a private attorney unless the Attorney General makes a written determination before entering into the contingency fee contract that contingency fee representation is both cost effective and in the public interest.
(2) A written determination made under this subsection shall state:
(A) Whether there are sufficient and appropriate legal and financial resources within the Attorney General's office to handle the matter;
(B) The time and labor required;
(C) The novelty, complexity, and difficulty of the questions involved;
(D) The skill required to perform the attorney services properly;
(E) The geographic area in which the attorney services are to be provided; and
(F) The amount of experience desired for the particular kind of attorney services to be provided and the nature of the private attorney's experience with similar issues or cases.
(c) (1) If the Attorney General makes a written determination under subsection (b) of this section, the Attorney General shall:
(A) Draft a written request for proposals from private attorneys to represent the state on a contingency-fee basis; and
(B) Post the request for proposals prominently on the Attorney General's website.
(2) However, if the Attorney General determines that requesting proposals is not feasible under the relevant circumstances, he or she shall state the basis for this determination in writing and include the statement in the written determination required under subsection (b) of this section.
(d) The Attorney General shall not enter into a contingency-fee contract that provides for the private attorney to receive an aggregate contingency fee, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses, in excess of the sum of the following:
(1) Twenty-five percent (25%) of any recovery up to ten million dollars ($10,000,000);
(2) Twenty percent (20%) of any recovery between ten million dollars ($10,000,000) and fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000);
(3) Fifteen percent (15%) of any recovery between fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) and twenty million dollars ($20,000,000);
(4) Ten percent (10%) of any recovery between twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) and twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000); and
(5) Five percent (5%) of any recovery exceeding twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000).
(e) An aggregate contingency fee shall not exceed fifty million dollars ($50,000,000), exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses, regardless of the number of lawsuits filed or the number of private attorneys retained to achieve the recovery.
(f) A contingency fee shall not be based on penalties or civil fines awarded or any amounts attributable to penalties or civil fines.
(g) The Attorney General shall not enter into a contingency fee contract unless the following requirements are met throughout the contract period and any extensions of the contract period:
(1) The government attorneys shall retain complete control over the course and conduct of the case;
(2) A government attorney with supervisory authority shall be personally involved in overseeing the litigation;
(3) The government attorneys shall retain the authority to reject any decisions made by outside counsel;
(4) A defendant that is the subject of the litigation may contact the lead government attorneys directly without having to confer with contingency fee counsel;
(5) A government attorney with supervisory authority for the case shall attend all settlement conferences; and
(6) Decisions regarding settlement of the case shall be left exclusively to the discretion of the government attorneys and the Attorney General.
(h) The Attorney General shall develop a standard addendum to each contingency fee contract that shall be used in all cases and shall describe in detail the responsibilities of the contracted private attorney and the Attorney General, including without limitation the requirements under subsection (g) of this section.
(i) This section does not expand the authority of the Attorney General to enter into a contract that the Attorney General does not otherwise have the authority to execute.
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