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Tag Archives: class settlement

Why Did A Federal Court Slash Class Counsel’s Proposed Fee Award In A Zip-Code Class Action By More Than 80 Percent?

Posted in Class Action Settlements

Here’s a great formula for becoming a rich plaintiffs’-side class-action lawyer: Copy-and-paste some cookie-cutter complaints alleging technical statutory violations.  Send demand letters to a group of deep-pocketed targets and negotiate coupon settlements with them before even filing the complaints. Then seek a six- or seven-figure award of attorneys’ fees for doing no heavy lifting, bearing… Continue Reading

New Study Finds That Class Members Rarely Benefit From Class Actions

Posted in Class Action Settlements

Proponents of class actions often contend that these lawsuits deliver substantial benefits to class members. But while media coverage of class actions often suggests that class members are receiving millions of dollars in relief, most practitioners in the class action arena know that the reality is quite different. That said, to date there has been… Continue Reading

You’ve Settled the Class Action—Can the State AG Demand Another Payout?

Posted in Class Action Trends

One of the more alarming recent developments in the class-action arena is the increase in actions by state attorneys general that mirror private class actions. These state AG actions aren’t like the typical enforcement action, in which the government pursues claims for civil penalties that are distinct from the relief sought in the private class… Continue Reading

Justice Alito Addresses A Federal District Judge’s Policy Of Requiring Race- and Gender-Conscious Selection of Class Counsel

Posted in Class Action Settlements, U.S. Supreme Court

For the second time in two weeks, the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in a class action case—this time, Martin v. Blessing—has garnered significant attention because of a separate statement by a Justice concerning the denial of review. In Martin, the petitioner challenged the policy of one federal judge in the Southern District of New… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski Objects to Class Settlement

Posted in Class Action Settlements

It’s always worth a look when a federal judge steps down from Olympus the bench to act as an ordinary mortal litigant.  Class action aficionados in particular should not  miss Alison Frankel’s report for Reuters, discussing a remarkable objection by Chief Judge Kozinksi and his wife to approval of a class settlement in a case in which he happens to be a class member.

Sixth Circuit Rejects Class Settlement Over Excessive Payments to Class Counsel and Named Plaintiffs

Posted in Class Action Settlements

The federal courts of appeals continue to scrutinize class-action settlements closely when the direct benefits to class members are overshadowed by the attorneys’ fees that flow to plaintiffs’ counsel. The most recent example is Greenberg v. Procter & Gamble Co. (pdf), No. 11-4156 (6th Cir. Aug. 2, 2013). In its decision, the Sixth Circuit provided guidance… Continue Reading

Judge Mulls Appointment of Own Expert to Evaluate What Could Be the Largest-Ever Class Settlement of Private Antitrust Claims

Posted in Antitrust, Class Action Settlements

It’s rare for a court to appoint its own expert in a class action. But Judge Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York is poised to do precisely that in order to help him decide whether to grant final approval to the $7.25 billion proposed class settlement of antitrust claims by retailers challenging Visa’s… Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rejects Class Settlement Because Class Fund Went to Class Counsel and Cy Pres Rather than Class Members

Posted in Class Action Settlements

We’ve blogged before about federal courts’ increasing reluctance to approve class settlements that involve a significant cy pres component. The Third Circuit’s recent decision in In re Baby Products Litigation (pdf) is the latest example of this trend. Class counsel often use the distribution of funds to handpicked charities in order to disguise the percentage of… Continue Reading

Can Members of a Mandatory Class Action Opt Out?

Posted in Adequacy, Class Action Settlements, Rule 23(b)(1), Rule 23(b)(2)

A recent decision from the Delaware Supreme Court is a reminder that the members of a mandatory class—one in which the class isn’t guaranteed opt-out rights—sometimes may be given the right to opt out in order to pursue their own individual actions. The decision, In re Celera Corp. Shareholder Litigation (pdf), addressed a class settlement of… Continue Reading

Galloway v. Kansas City Landsmen, LLC: Court Rejects Coupon Settlement After Finding That Few Class Members Would Be Likely To File A Claim

Posted in Class Action Settlements

As readers of the blog by now know, I’m always on the lookout for examples of class-action settlements that pay off the lawyers while providing little or no benefit to the members of the putative class. The most recent example is Galloway v. Kansas City Landsmen, LLC (pdf), in which Judge Greg Kays of the U.S…. Continue Reading

In re Groupon, Inc., Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation: Judicial Skepticism Of Cy Pres Dooms Another Settlement

Posted in Class Action Settlements

Past posts have noted that federal courts have become increasingly skeptical of class-action settlements that contain a cy pres component.  Another recent example is In re Groupon, Inc., Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation (S.D. Cal.).  The plaintiffs in this case alleged that Groupon violated various federal and state consumer-protection statutes by marketing vouchers with allegedly improper restrictions… Continue Reading

Can Class Members Opt Out of a Class Settlement But Not the Action? No, Says E.D.N.Y.

Posted in Class Action Settlements

Antitrust class actions differ in a number of respects from the ordinary run of consumer class actions. Perhaps most notably, they frequently involve classes made up, not of individual consumers, but of highly sophisticated businesses with potentially enormous sums of money on the line. These class members sometimes take an active role in the litigation,… Continue Reading

What Are Courts Doing With Fee Requests Made in Connection with Class Settlements?

Posted in Class Action Settlements, Class Action Trends

In recent years, courts generally have cast a more skeptical eye on fee requests made by plaintiffs’ counsel who have negotiated a class action settlement. In the past, courts often rubberstamped outlandish fee requests. In fact, settlements awarding class counsel “excessive attorneys’ fees with little or no recovery for the class members themselves” were the… Continue Reading

Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster: California Trial Court Rejects “Pure” Coupon Settlement As Well As “Clear Sailing” Agreement To Pay Class Counsel $15 Million In Attorneys’ Fees

Posted in Class Action Settlements

On September 26, California Superior Court Judge Kenneth Freeman rejected a proposed class settlement of allegations that Ticketmaster had misled ticket buyers by implying that fully disclosed charges for an Order Processing Fee and delivery by U.P.S. represented its actual costs. Before commenting on the grounds for rejecting the settlement, though, I can’t resist observing that… Continue Reading

Comcast v. Behrend Remains Live: District Court Thwarts Plaintiffs’ Effort To Moot Case By Invoking Unconsummated Settlement

Posted in Class Action Settlements, Class Certification, U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, No. 11-864, on November 5. In a nutshell, the issue is whether a federal district court must resolve challenges to an expert witness’s testimony concerning whether damages can be awarded on a class-wide basis before deciding whether to certify a class. Please… Continue Reading

In re Apple iPhone 4 Products Liability Litigation: Low Claims Rate Equals Reduced Attorneys’ Fee Award

Posted in Class Action Settlements

A few days ago, I posted about a case in which a federal district court in California drastically reduced a request for attorneys’ fees because the results obtained for the class were far from “superior.” Today, I ran across a decision by another judge from that court reaching much the same result. In re Apple… Continue Reading

Ko v. Natura Pet Prods., Inc.: District Court Approves Settlement, But Slashes Attorneys’ Fees And Incentive Award

Posted in Class Action Settlements

There should be little wonder why many plaintiffs’ lawyers hate CAFA: By and large, federal district courts take their obligation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) to police class settlements seriously, which generally means lower fee awards for plaintiffs’ lawyers. The most recent example is Ko v. Natura Pet Products, Inc. (N.D. Cal. Sept…. Continue Reading

Second Circuit: Insufficient Notice of Class Action Settlement Means That Class Members Can Bring Copycat Class Actions

Posted in Appeals, Class Action Settlements, Class Certification, Rule 23(b)(2), Superiority

The Second Circuit’s recent decision in Hecht v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., No. 11-1327 (2d Cir. Aug. 17, 2012), should sound alarm bells for any business that attempts to settle a class action.  The takeaway from the decision is to make sure that  notice of the settlement to absent class members is adequate. Under some… Continue Reading

Berry: Another Class Settlement Benefiting Class Counsel But Not Class Members Approved

Posted in Class Action Settlements

As part of our ongoing series covering class actions in which the only real beneficiaries are the plaintiffs’ lawyers, here is the Missouri Court of Appeals’ decision in Berry v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (pdf), No. WD73974 (Mo. Ct. App. June 12, 2012). The plaintiff alleged a defect in the window regulator of certain… Continue Reading

Federal District Court: Attorneys Get Paid Even Though No Class Members Submitted Claims

Posted in Arbitration, Class Action Settlements

One of the keys to our victory in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (the Supreme Court case holding that courts can’t refuse to enforce arbitration provisions on the ground that they preclude class actions) was our ability to pull back the curtain on the consumer class action racket and show that often the only ones who… Continue Reading