Posts Tagged ‘class action settlements’

CCAF contests $8.5 million Google privacy settlement

It’s a cy pres special: members of the injured class will get no part of an $8.5 million settlement Google negotiated with plaintiff’s lawyers over a data privacy lapse. “Instead, the money is to be split among the plaintiffs’ attorneys, who billed their time at $1,000 an hour, and others. The others are cy pres recipients, or organizations that are not parties in the suit: Carnegie Mellon University; World Privacy Forum; the Center for Information, Society and Policy at the Chicago-Kent College of Law; Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Harvard University’s Berkman Center; and AARP Inc.” Ted Frank’s Center for Class Action Fairness is asking the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari after its objections were turned down by lower courts. [Dee Thompson, Legal NewsLine, earlier here and here (Beck: “cy pres abuse poster child”)]

Plus: Bank of America settlement will now yield cy pres windfall for five University of California law schools of $150,000 rather than $20 million. Easy come, easy go? [ABA Journal]

Burger workers class action makes Happy Meal for lawyers

Lawyers will get $858,000 of what is described as the nearly million-dollar settlement of a suit against McDonald’s franchisees in northeastern Pennsylvania that had used debit cards to compensate workers, leading to complaints of fees. “The eight employees named in the suit, or the lead plaintiffs, will receive $1,250 each plus the debit-card fees they paid, according to WNEP. All others — only a few hundred of the roughly 2,400 signed paperwork to collect — will get $100 plus fee reimbursement.” [AP/Wilkes Barre Times Leader]

Class action roundup

September 13 roundup

  • Scranton, Pa. federal judge “denies ‘exorbitant’ request for nearly $1M in attorney fees after $125K recovery” [ABA Journal; arose from bad faith insurance action on underlying uninsured motorist claim that settled for $25,000]
  • As PETA settles monkey selfie case with hapless photographer, details confirm that “Naruto is really just a prop to be deployed in the case as PETA sees fit.” [Ted Folkman, Eriq Gardner, earlier] A sad catalogue of litigation abuse enabled by PETA’s donors [Frank Bednarz thread]
  • Lively First Circuit opinion upholds extortion conviction of small town police chief [Bob Dunn, Berkshire Eagle, U.S. v. Buffis via IJ’s John Ross, “Short Circuit“; Lee, Mass.]
  • She beat DOMA and the IRS too, and all in great style. My appreciation of Edith Windsor [Cato at Liberty]
  • “North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting” [also by me at Cato at Liberty]
  • Me: “Posner was the judge lawyers really didn’t want to run into if they had bad class action settlements to defend” [Jonathan Bilyk, Cook County Record, earlier]

“Utterly worthless,” “no better than a racket”

7th Circuit judges take carving knife to lawyers’ “footlong” class action settlement with Subway sandwich chain, after objections from Ted Frank [Lowering the Bar, CEI, earlier]

Speaking of the Seventh Circuit, Judge Richard Posner, among the most influential legal thinkers and jurists of the past half-century, is stepping down. He changed my thinking and if you hang out around law or policy probably yours too [our past coverage and tag; Evan Bernick on Twitter; Cass Sunstein (“I have my disagreements with Judge Posner, but let’s give credit where it is due: His influence has made the law much better, and the world is a lot better off as a result.”)]

Logic of olive oil settlement might be hard to press

Lawyers sued over the labeling of Filippo Berio olive oil as “imported from Italy” because the Italian-packed product derives from olives grown not only in Italy but also in other countries such as Greece and Tunisia. In the settlement of the class action Kumar v. Salov North America Corp., “the attorneys look to get over 300% of what their clients will.” [Ted Frank and Will Chamberlain, CEI]

“VW judge dares plaintiffs’ lawyers to go after clients for fees”

“It’s obvious from a ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco that the judge does not think owners of Volkswagen ‘clean diesel’ cars needed individual counsel. The judge denied motions by 244 plaintiffs’ lawyers who wanted VW to pay them for the time they spent drafting filings for individual car owners, suggesting edits to classwide filings and advising their clients about developments in the case, including advice about whether to participate in the $10 billion class action settlement.” (Lawyers for the class itself, on the other hand, led by San Francisco’s Lieff Cabraser, are on track to get $175 million in fees and costs.) “So if VW doesn’t have to pay these 244 non-class lawyers for their time, will the 3,642 VW owners who signed individual contingency fee agreements with them be on the hook?” While Judge Breyer has instructed VW not to recognize liens for the individual attorney fees, they could still proceed against their clients for collection under the terms of the individual contingency fee contracts. [Alison Frankel, Reuters]

Fee scrimmage in NFL concussion settlement

“The $1 billion NFL concussion settlement — nearly six years in the making yet still to deliver a penny to former players and their families for brain injuries stemming from football — is revealing the underbelly of the legal system to former players and their families. … Two dozen wives of former players recently sent a plea to the judge overseeing the case, asking her to address concerns that legal fees will be cutting heavily into money that was supposed to go their families. They cited lawyers charging ‘exorbitant’ retainer fees to players and their families despite the same lawyers being eligible to collect from a $112.5 million fund set aside to pay attorneys who worked on the case.” [ESPN]

Liability roundup

  • Uphill battle in Congress for bill to “prohibit federal courts from issuing awards that consider the victim’s race or gender, among other demographic variables” [Kim Soffen, Washington Post on “Fair Calculations Act”]
  • Normalizing champerty, the Ann Arbor way: University of Michigan endowment to take stake in litigation finance fund [Janet Lorin, Bloomberg News]
  • Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA), restoring sanctions for groundless litigation, cleared House committee vote last month [@HouseJudiciary]
  • “Lynch’s Doubling of False Claims Act Fines Could Be Bonanza for Trial Lawyers” [Joe Schoffstall, Washington Free Beacon]
  • “Katrina victims shocked by small payments in levee failure case they ‘won’ – $118 each, on average” [David Hammer, WWL-TV]
  • Advisory Committee on Civil Rules considers revising Rule 23 on class actions [Washington Legal Foundation comments]