Firstly, I'm neither for nor against H &P in any great way. If they are guilty of something bad, then when it's proved I'll berate them.
I can't speak for all countries, but certainly in the UK, in cases such as this, you pay virtually nothing until the case is settled. Any lawyer worth his salt will decide beforehand whether or not the case is worth pursuing. If he thinks it is, he will then be paid out of the damages awarded. If potential employees or sub-contractors enter in to an agreement, they need to be sure of what they are getting in to. For a small fee, you can have have a contract checked by a lawyer, and you can prevent (or at least minimise) the kind of acts alleged here. Seems like common sense to me.
Look around, see how many companies (good or bad) are left supporting the Amiga. Not many, and we should be grateful that there are any left. At the end of the day, nobody forces people to work for them, and contracts are there to protect both parties. I seriously doubt that H & P can afford to pay large amounts of damages to anybody, so they have to be careful too.