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 very first “abuse” identified in the findings accompanying the Class Action Fairness Act (pdf).
But even today, courts do not always slash the fees requested by counsel for the settlement class. In one recent wage-and-hour class action, Lemus v. H&R Block Enterprises LLC (pdf) (N.D. Cal. Sept. 10, 2012), after initially having awarded class counsel the lodestar amount, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration and increased the award to include a risk multiplier.
The BNA article (subscription required) reporting on the decision also has a very interesting chart detailing the treatment of a number of recent fee requests made in connection with class settlements. I encourage you to check it out.