News & Analysis as of

Fifth Circuit upholds “seamen” exemption and dismisses “day-rate” FLSA collective action suit.

A wave of FLSA collective (class) actions have been filed against scores of marine shipping and towing companies in the Gulf States for violation of the FLSA. Specifically, these suits claim that the commonly used “day-rate”...more

Seventh Circuit Chides Plaintiffs’ Lawyers for Selling Out Class Members, Shedding “Crocodile Tears” in Class Action Settlement

In most settlement negotiations, it is taken for granted that the parties’ self-interest will lead them to advocate aggressively for their positions and against their opponents. After all, every dollar that the plaintiff...more

Clear Sailing Ahead For Class Counsel in California Settlement

In Laffitte v. Robert Half International, Inc., No. BC321317, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Oct. 29, 2014; pub. ord. Nov. 21, 2014), the California Court of Appeal affirmed a $19,000,000 settlement that included an attorneys’ fee...more

The Class Action Chronicle - Winter 2014

This is the sixth edition of The Class Action Chronicle, a quarterly publication that provides an analysis of recent class action trends, along with a summary of class certification and Class Action Fairness Act rulings...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Another Settlement With Disproportionate Attorney Fees Compared to Class Member Benefits

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a class action settlement because class counsel would have received generous attorney fees for conferring only meager benefits to the class. Writing for the Court, just as he did...more

Now That That’s Settled: The Status of Class Action Settlements in the Seventh Circuit after Pella, Radioshack and NBTY

Over the last several months, Judge Richard Posner has authored a triumvirate of opinions reversing the district courts’ approval, over objections, of consumer class action settlements—Eubank v. Pella Corp., 753 F.3d 718 (7th...more

Class Action Settlement: Judge Posner Strikes Again At Excessive Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees

Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit continues to be prolific in authoring class action-related opinions. I enjoy blogging about these decisions because they are entertaining to read and usually relatively short and to the...more

California Appellate Court Rejects Class Action Settlement Due to Excessive Attorney Fees

Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered, so the saying goes. As we’ve noted before on Oct. 7, June 5, and Dec. 18, courts are starting to examine attorney fee awards in class action settlements much more closely, and the...more

In re TPC Group Inc. S'holders Litig., C.A. No. 7865-VCN (Del. Ch. Oct. 29, 2014) (Noble, V.C.)

In this letter opinion, the Court of Chancery denied plaintiffs’ application for an award of attorneys’ fees and held that plaintiffs’ class action litigation was not the cause of the increase in the merger price achieved...more

Judge Posner’s Scathing Critique of a Proposed Coupon Settlement

The topic of potential self-dealing in class action settlements has been written about extensively. While class counsel may be fully aligned with the class in seeking to maximize the settlement, their interests diverge...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Attorney Fee Award Premised on Administrative Costs

As we’ve commented before, class actions frequently take on a life of their own. They involve large sums of money, frequently raise difficult discovery and case management issues, and are subject to surprises for all the...more

Attorneys’ Fees In Class Action Settlements Addressed By Judge Posner

Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit is a frequent author of class action-related opinions. His most recent one reversed an order approving a class action settlement because the attorneys’ fee award was too high. The case...more

Employment Law Summer Recap 2014: Part 8 of 11 – New York’s Coldest Summer, Especially for Employers Who Utilized Unpaid Interns

It felt like we were in a dream. Or maybe San Diego. Day after day, 82 degrees and little humidity. In a word: pleasant. We know next summer probably won’t be the same, but we sure enjoyed this one. That’s right – this was...more

Business Court Resolves A Trio Of Discovery Issues

Three interesting discovery issues were resolved last week by Judge Bledsoe's Order in Gay v. Peoples Bank. First, can you obtain in discovery in a class action the fee arrangement between the plaintiff and his lawyers? ...more

Delaware Court Denies Attorneys’ Fees for Stockholders in Appraisal Proceedings

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently held that certain stockholders who launched appraisal proceedings challenging a merger lacked standing to obtain reimbursement of attorneys’ fees from a $10.7 million settlement in a...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: August 2014 #2

former marital home entitled to homestead exemption under article X, section 4 of Florida Constitution because (1) decedent and former wife still owned home as tenants in common at time of his death; (2) decedent’s sons, whom...more

Ninth Circuit Narrowly Upholds Class Settlement In Misclassification Case

We’ve commented several times recently on the increasing scrutiny courts are giving to class action settlements generally, and to attorney fee awards in particular. A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit, although it...more

California District Court Rejects Class Action Settlement Due To Fee, Enhancement, and Other Issues

Do your homework before you seek approval of a class action settlement! Meals on airlines have all but disappeared for anyone other than those in first class, but the company Sky Chefs contends on its website that it...more

End of Battery Class Actions Almost in Sight

On April 22, 2014, the Plaintiff in Poertner v. Gillette Co. moved for final approval of settlement and for attorneys’ fees and costs. The settlement, reached in September 2013, would bring to an end two class actions against...more

Seventh Circuit Affirms Lodestar Method to Determine Attorneys’ Fees in TCPA Class Action Settlement

In Americana Art China Company, Inc. v. Foxfire Printing & Packaging, Inc., 743 F.3d 243 (7th Cir. Feb. 18, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s attorneys’ fees award in a...more

A Million Dollars In Fees For Class Counsel in Wachovia/Wells Fargo Merger Lawsuit

When I first looked at Judge Murphy's (unpublished) Order in Ehrenhaus v. Baker earlier this month awarding attorneys' fees to the class action attorneys who sued Wachovia and Wells Fargo over their merger in 2008, I was...more

Everyone Gets To See The Evidence: The California Court Of Appeal Rejects an Attorneys’ Fee Award Based On The Trial Court’s In...

In Concepcion v. Amscan Holdings, Inc. et al., — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2014 WL 595822 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. Feb. 18, 2014) the California Court of Appeal rejected class counsel’s fee award where class counsel’s billing records were...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Percentage Method To Determine Attorneys’ Fees In Class Action Settlement

In Collado v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Nos. 11-57013, 11-57023, 11-57030 (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s attorneys’ fees award in a class action settlement...more

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

Here’s a great formula for becoming a rich plaintiffs’-side class-action lawyer: 1. Copy-and-paste some cookie-cutter complaints alleging technical statutory violations...more

You Can't Always Get What You Want: D. Mass. Awards Small Fraction Of Requested Attorneys' Fees In ZIP Code Class Settlement

In an opinion reminiscent of the famous Rolling Stones song, Judge Richard Stearns on December 26th awarded plaintiffs' class counsel fees of $75,959.00 of a requested amount of $450,000 for work performed in connection with...more

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