Posts Tagged ‘class action settlements’

Litigation roundup

  • Settlement insurance, a new litigation-finance mechanism, can have the unintended result of casting light on just how little benefit some class actions provide to consumers [Ted Frank, CEI] Yet another new litigation finance mechanism: trial-expense insurance purchased by lawyers [Bloomberg/Insurance Journal]
  • South Carolina law firm sues 185 different defendants in the average asbestos case it files, and it’s still far from tops in that department [Palmetto Business Daily]
  • “Those terms and conditions (that nobody reads) could cost New Jersey retailers” [Tim Darragh, NJ.com on class actions under pre-Internet-era state consumer protection law]
  • Some federal courts, while paying lip service to the important Rule 26 discovery reforms that took effect Dec. 1, continue in their old ways, “effectively applying the old standard” [James Beck]
  • “Can Pokémon Go and Product Liability Coexist?” [Julie Steinberg, BNA/Product Safety & Liability Reporter, earlier]
  • “How does privatization affect liability?” [Sasha Volokh]

Liability roundup

Daniel Fisher on the VW settlement

The big Volkswagen settlement dishes out a large pot of money for owners of VW diesels, whether they feel injured or not. “A roster of the country’s biggest class-action firms will get an unspecified but huge amount of fees, likely measured in the billions. And buried in the 42-page proposed settlement are tidbits for other folks, including the professional association for state attorneys general and manufacturers of electric cars. … Some AGs justify such payments as reimbursement for their investigative expenses, but as tax-supported officers it is not clear why their professional association should get the money.” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]

Liability roundup

Bloomberg profiles Ted Frank

Ted Frank, who directs the Center for Class Action Fairness and was long a co-blogger here at Overlawyered, is the subject of this Bloomberg/BNA profile from Steven Sellers of Class Action Litigation Report. A master key to Ted’s analysis of class action settlement incentives? “The Posner and Easterbrook decisions on class actions… pervade everything I do,” he says, referring to economically informed Seventh Circuit judges Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, both also associated with the University of Chicago law school, where Ted studied. Chicken offsets get a mention, too.

“A Little Wal-Mart Gift Card for You, A Big Payout for Lawyers”

“A member of a class-action lawsuit received a Walmart gift card as part of a settlement, but because of a legal ambiguity, the real gift may be for the lawyers.” With bonus Ted Frank interview quotes [David Segal, “The Haggler,” New York Times] And more on the mentioned Duracell case as showing why the Supreme Court should police class action settlements, as Cato has urged in a brief [Ilya Shapiro]

“Objectors say Subway sandwich settlement comes up short”

Attorneys have requested $525,000 in fees in a settlement of a class action over Subway’s marketing of “foot long” sandwiches that fell short of 12 full inches. Class representatives will get a few thousand, ordinary class members will get no compensation, although the chain is changing its procedures. Ted Frank is objecting. [Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, earlier here and here]

“Yahoo settles e-mail privacy class-action: $4M for lawyers, $0 for users”

“Under the proposal, the massive class of non-Yahoo users won’t get any payment, but the class lawyers at Girard Gibbs and Kaplan Fox intend to ask for up to $4 million in fees. (The ultimate amount of fees will be up to the judge, but Yahoo has agreed not to oppose any fee request up to $4 million.) While users won’t get any payment, Yahoo will change how it handles user e-mails — but it isn’t the change that the plaintiffs attorneys were originally asking for.” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]

“Should Plaintiffs Lawyers Get 94% of A Class Action Settlement?”

The Eleventh Circuit approved the settlement of a class action suit over Duracell batteries: “The four plaintiffs law firms that brought the case were together awarded $5.7 million, while the 7.26 million class members they represented divvied up just $345,000 between them.” Ted Frank, well known to our readers, is asking the Supreme Court to review the case, which presents, among other issues, a chance to offer guidance about the cy pres diversion of settlement money to charities and good causes. [Roger Parloff, Fortune, earlier]