EAST LANSING, MICH. - Michigan State University's costs for outside legal assistance in connection with its former doctor Larry Nassar reached $330,000 by the end of February, records show.
That total has likely increased significantly, as none of the invoices obtained by the State Journal through a records request are for work performed in March or April. Also, the law firm charging MSU the highest rates — $990 an hour, which is among the highest billing rates in the country — hadn't yet billed the university for work performed in February. The State Journal submitted its records request March 17.
The university was served with its first lawsuit related to Nassar on March 23, MSU spokesman Jason Cody said.
The bills include:
- $203,630 from Chicago-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the law firm charging $990 an hour. The invoice is for work done by six attorneys and two legal assistants in December and January, and includes $13,350 for "computer legal research."
- $19,151 from Detroit-based Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone for work in January by four attorneys charging between $310 an hour and $455 an hour.
- $824 from East Lansing-based Hackney Grover, the law firm that handles MSU's medical malpractice issues, for work done in February.
The university also contracted San Francisco-based Blue Moon Consulting Group for crisis management and communications support for Nassar-related issues. The firm billed MSU for $20,650 for 59 hours of work done from Jan. 28 through Feb. 24, records show.
Simon Barker, Blue Moon's managing partner, declined to comment. The consulting group's website says it specializes in higher education issues.
Cody said the university's insurance policy will cover a portion of Blue Moon's costs.
Nassar worked at MSU and with USA Gymnastics for decades. The university fired him in September. USA Gymnastics said in February that it had relieved Nassar of any further assignments with them in July 2015.
Since September, more than 80 women and girls have filed lawsuits against MSU, USA Gymnastics and Nassar in state and federal courts. The women and girls say in court documents that Nassar sexually assaulted them during medical appointments and the organizations didn't do enough to protect them.
Nassar, through his attorneys, has denied any wrongdoing and said he performed legitimate medical procedures. He faces 28 criminal charges in state and federal courts, including 22 sexual assault charges directly related to his role as a doctor.
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