Herbert Stern, the lawyer hired by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to monitor UMDNJ as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, has found himself at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by a former client.
The lawsuit by former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio alleges that among other things, Stern’s attorneys overbilled him while representing him during a six-week-long trial on insider trading charges. Nacchio was convicted and sentenced to 70 months in prison. His fines and restitution amounted to $70 million.
Now he is suing Stern and his firm Stern & Kilcullen LLC alleging negligence in the handling of his case. But the suit also alleges that among the $25 million Stern billed for the defense, were charges for thousands of dollars of staff breakfasts, in-room movies and underwear.
Nacchio also claims that Stern’s firm billed for “duplicative and unnecessary work” including seven attorneys to attend a court appearance.
According to the suit, Stern’s firm was “negligent and careless in handling the defense of the criminal action,” which resulted in the barring of a key Nacchio witness.
The suit alleges that the trial judge noted Stern’s “gross defect in failing to reveal the methodology of a key witness.”