The Prattipati family would have been content with a $7.5 million settlement from the man who took their daughters from India to Berkeley, Calif., where he forced them into a sex and forced-labor ring.
But according to a lawsuit filed May 9, their attorneys held out, and -- after a jury was empanelled and the plaintiffs were deposed -- eventually won a settlement of $8.9 million.
Unhappy with their representation and fee arrangement, the Prattipatis are now suing their lawyers for malpractice, according to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court.
Attorneys with Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain and Latham & Watkins settled a host of claims against Lakireddy Bali Reddy in April 2004, three years after Reddy, a Berkeley real estate magnate, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of illegally bringing young girls from India to the East Bay for sex and unpaid labor. One of the Prattipatis' two daughters in the case died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a poorly ventilated room in which Reddy kept her.
In the suit filed May 9 by San Francisco malpractice specialist William Gwire, the family alleges that Michael Rubin of the Altshuler firm and Latham's John Flynn were so insistent on going to trial in the case that they rebuffed their clients' instructions to settle, inflicting emotional distress by prolonging the litigation and forcing their clients to undergo depositions and court appearances.