Monday, December 21, 2009

Fairchild v. AOL briefing

Additional issues arise in the response to the motion for settlement.

1) Is an email notifying subscribers of a pre-existing policy substantive injunctive relief meriting attorneys' fees?
2) Is a request for attorneys' fees of 75% of the total financial settlement "fair" simply because its severable--when severability simply means that a reduction in fees reverts to the defendant, rather than to the class?
3) Is "cy pres" really cy pres when the designated charities are either local, related to the mediator, and/or related to the plaintiff?
4) Is apathy about a bad settlement judicial evidence of affirmative support?

The hearing is in Los Angeles December 28.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Objection to Yahoo! "Sponsored Search" settlement

In In re Yahoo! Litigation, Case No. CV06-2737 CAS (FMOx), plaintiffs’ lawyers seek approval to settle a class action over alleged problems in its "Sponsored Search" web advertising service with zero dollars for the vast majority of class members, but seek over $4.1 million in attorneys’ fees. The Center for Class Action Fairness filed an objection on behalf of Eric Turkewitz, a New York personal injury attorney and blogger. As the brief says, “It would be an abuse of discretion to reward these attorneys with a contingency fee of over 80,000% when they failed to make the millions of dollars of settlement money available to their putative clients, instead claiming it solely for themselves.”

Honda Civic Hybrid class action settlement objection

In True v. American Honda Motor Co., Case No. 07-cv-00287 VAP (OPx), trial lawyers seek to settle consumer fraud litigation over mileage claims for the Honda Civic Hybrid with a settlement that offers only coupons to the 186,000-member class, but $2.95 million for the attorneys. Worse, the coupon program appears to be designed to discourage class members from their use: they exclude Honda’s hottest models, may not be transferred, expire quickly, require a trade-in for full value, and cannot be used unless class members sit through a lengthy presentation on optimizing gas mileage. The Center for Class Action Fairness filed papers on behalf of a Civic Hybrid purchaser requesting that the settlement be rejected. A similar class action settlement over Ford Explorers in Sacramento last year issued one million $500 coupons to the class, of which only 75 were redeemed, while the attorneys collected over $20 million in fees.

Monday, December 7, 2009

AOL Footer case - Fairchild v. AOL objection to proposed settlement

Four plaintiffs represented by three law firms sued AOL for including advertising in the footers of emails and failing to make it sufficiently easy for members to opt out of the process. Before so much as a motion to dismiss was filed, they settled—for $320,000 for their attorneys, and nothing for the class they represented. (Per ¶¶ 23-24, AOL will give $110,000 to six charities that have nothing to do with email footer advertising; $35,000 of that amount was chosen by the four plaintiffs.)

Today, the Center for Class Action Fairness filed an objection on behalf of Objector Darren McKinney to the settlement.