Monday, September 9, 2013

August and September update

We've been very busy!
  • In Fraley v. Facebook, the district court adopted our theory of attorneys' fees (zero value for injunctive relief and for settlement money paid to administrators); the parties, perhaps in response to our objection, upped the class-member award to $15 from $10. So a fee reduction of $2.5 to $3 million, with several million more available for the class. Not a bad day's work, and enough of an improvement that we're not going to appeal the parts of the decision the court got wrong.

  • Speaking of whether class counsel should get a commission on money paid to the settlement administrator... You may recall the Ninth Circuit throwing out a bad settlement (in an opinion later modified) over Frosted Mini-Wheats that paid $800,000 to consumers, $2 million to lawyers, and some unknown figure to unknown cy pres. On remand, the parties set up a $4 million settlement fund—but $900,000 or so is earmarked for settlement administration. Is that a $4 million settlement, or is it really a $3.1 million settlement, because that's all the class can hope to get? Class counsel is "only" seeking $1 million this time, which is still disproportionate to actual class relief; meanwhile, the objectors who turned the $800,000 in class relief into over $2 million of class relief aren't being given anything. This morning, I'll be at the fairness hearing in San Diego, presenting the CCAF objection of Chicago Law professor Todd Henderson. Class counsel's main argument against us is that we're funded by the Koch brothers (not remotely true), and therefore we should be ignored. 

  • We filed a cert petition appealing our Second Circuit loss in Sirius. I'll write a longer post about that, plus our amicus support.

  • Another case that merits a longer post is a fascinating Eighth Circuit brief we filed last week in an appeal of a $2.6 million cy pres award.

  • Speaking of bad cy pres (and bad coupon settlements), we filed our opening Ninth Circuit brief in EasySaver Rewards ($8.85 million for attorneys, $3 million for local cy pres, $225,000 and worthless coupons for the class) in July.
  • CCAF attorney Adam Schulman filed an objection to the horrendous settlement in Berry v. LexisNexis, which is like Dry Max Pampers, but far worse, with a larger class and the attorneys asking for $5.5 million. This merits a longer post, but we were honored that a passel of very highly-paid attorneys representing a competing class action and their objectors saw fit to adopt so many of our arguments.

  • In Pearson v. Target Corp., class counsel is seeking $4.5 million for a settlement over glucosamine sales likely to pay less than half of that to the class. I am a class member, and CCAF attorney Melissa Holyoke filed an objection on my behalf.

  • In the Southwest Drink Voucher case, the court approved the settlement, but hasn't ruled on the attorneys' fees yet. We're deciding whether to appeal.

  • Cato filed an amicus in support of our cert petition in the Facebook Beacon case.

  • More press coverage than you can shake a stick at. And I did a lengthy "Liberty Law Talk" podcast with Richard Reisch about class action abuse generally.
Given that one of our attorneys is pregnant, another is getting married, and a third is moving, we're being very productive, though of course, we've had help from pro bono counsel.

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