Friday, December 23, 2011

Festivus update

  • In the Toys "R" Us baby products antitrust case, the E.D. Pa. approved a settlement and fee request that pays $14M to attorneys and $8.1M to class members over our objection. describes it as a "24% recovery for the class"; if that's accurate, that raises the question why there will be another $13 million of payments to cy pres recipients not disclosed to the class instead of to the class. Aside from the fact of attorneys getting nearly twice as much as class members.
  • We also lost in the Franklin Templeton Mutual case, where the judge approved a settlement and fee request where the attorneys are getting $2.142 million and the class $2.27 million. To me, that effectively reads the attorneys' fees restrictions directly out of the PSLRA, but we'll wait for a more egregious abuse to take that legal question up on appeal.
  • With all that bad news, we'll take a small partial victory in the Fogel v. Farmers case, where the court reduced an outrageous fee request of $90 million (for a $159 million class recovery) to a merely ginormous $73.7 million award. The judge praised our objection as helpful and invited us to make a fee request. We requested between $10,500 and $33 thousand in fees and expenses, and the court awarded us over $47 thousand. Awkward. We'll try to put the money to good use for class members in other cases, though with appeals, we aren't going to see it for some time. The settlement had Bluetooth problems and the fee disposition is a gigantic windfall that could have been more appropriately directed at the class, but it's in California state court (a legacy pre-CAFA case), there are other objectors who will appeal, and we'll defer to what they're doing, with perhaps an amicus instead of a direct appeal; the long-term precedential value of this case, with even a successful appeal, is pretty close to zero.
  • I forgot to mention a similar small partial victory in the HP Laserjet case back in August; the court approved the settlement after valuing the coupon relief at zero, but did reduce the attorney award from $2.75M to $2M. Close enough for government work; we didn't appeal.
  • We've been invited to make a fee request in another case where we objected in the District Court of Maine a while back, the New Vehicles Canadian Export Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1532; our objection resulted in an improper $500,000 cy pres being returned to the class common fund. We haven't decided whether to request a token amount of that. 
  • Appellee briefs are in in the Inkjet case in the Ninth Circuit. I'll post about that after the new year if you don't want to look it up on PACER yourself.

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