A federal magistrate on Friday denied attorneys’ fees to camera-ready victims’ rights lawyer Lisa Bloom, who had tried to block a multimillion-dollar settlement for a sexually abused autistic teenager who was briefly Bloom’s client.
San Francisco-based U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler instead invalidated Bloom’s lien on the settlement from the West Contra Costa Unified School District and awarded $2,250,000—a figure which includes costs and attorneys’ fees—to “Brennon B.,” a severely disabled student who was repeatedly sexually assaulted on school property by fellow special needs students and a staff member.
“In light of the benefits that the plaintiff has received in the litigation…the court finds that the settlement is reasonable and that the attorney’s fees are reasonable and appropriate,” Beeler ruled, while denying Bloom’s request to maintain her lien on just the attorneys’ fees.
Brennon B.’s longtime attorney Micha Star Liberty, who had a joint venture agreement with Bloom to assist with the case for seven months until Bloom abruptly withdrew in late March 2020, had alleged in court filings that The Bloom Firm had violated terms of the agreement and forged documents and signatures in an unjustified money grab.
“My client and I are pleased with the court’s ruling,” Liberty told The Daily Beast, referring to Brennon B. and his mother and legal guardian, Bellinda B. “Lisa Bloom has shown once again that all she cares about is money, and will do anything to get it, including calling the mother of her own former client, a special needs sexual assault victim, a liar in a publicly filed document. Through her disparaging words and her attempt to profit by fraud, her lack of moral compass has yet again been revealed to the world through her own unethical actions.”
The Bloom Firm, in a statement that said it was “pleased that Brennon B. will receive his portion of the settlement and the justice he deserves,” fired back: “This is and has always been an attorney’s fees dispute between The Bloom Firm and Liberty Law, that should never have included the clients… Ms. Liberty has gone to great lengths to avoid paying money she is contractually obligated to pay, even using her own clients as pawns, despite knowing that The Bloom Firm’s lien could not and would not affect the client’s portion. Ms. Liberty also appears intent on using the media to defame and ridicule Ms. Bloom. The Bloom Firm will not stoop to Ms. Liberty’s level and has no further comment on her or this matter.”
Friday’s ruling—which is expected to cause the settlement payment to be disbursed by next week—is likely a bad omen for Bloom’s attempt to collect a hefty slice of a second multimillion-dollar settlement, also won by Liberty.
In that case, “I.V.,” a 7-year-old autistic girl, sued the Vacaville Unified School District after her physical and emotional abuse by a school bus driver was caught on video and received intense media coverage.
Bloom, whose feminist reputation suffered a massive blow with revelations that she had been secretly helping convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein trash his accusers, has until midnight Friday to file a motion to Sacramento-based U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller.