Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bachman v. A.G. Edwards class action settlement objection

The attorneys in the case of Bachman v. A.G. Edwards, Inc. negotiated what they call a $60 million settlement. Which sounds good, until you actually look at the settlement:
  • The attorneys are asking for $21 million of the $60 million, or 35%;
  • 35% is actually an underestimate, because $34 million of the $60 million consist of $8.22 coupons, issued in sets of three to be used once a year to pay for mutual fund fees--assuming that the class members remember to use an $8.22 coupon in 2012;
  • the attorneys' fees get paid immediately, while the class does not get paid until ninety days after all appeals are resolved;
  • and even if the court reduces the attorneys' fees, the reduction goes to a charity run by A.G. Edwards's successor, Wells Fargo, rather than to the class.
In reality, the class is getting more like $8 million, and the attorneys will be getting more than twice that. This settlement is similar to a settlement against Edward D. Jones of a couple of years ago negotiated by a similar group of attorneys; I asked a co-lead counsel who was involved in both cases for evidence of the redemption rate of the Edward D. Jones coupons. Needless to say, he refused to provide a response.

Today, we filed an objection on behalf of a class member who was justifiably appalled by the settlement. And I see many others are unhappy as well. The AG Edwards Settlement Fairness Hearing will be held on May 14, 2010 at 9:30 a.m., central time at the St. Louis City Circuit Court, Civil Courts Building, 10 North Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63101-2044.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Additional briefing in Costco fuel class action

On April 1, I participated in the fairness hearing in the Costco fuel class action in Kansas City, KS, before Chief Judge Kathryn Vratil. Plaintiffs made new arguments in support of the settlement at that time, and, today (because the Center works for its clients seven days a week), we filed this supplemental response addressing the Daubert implications of the plaintiffs' economic expert testimony and the plaintiffs' claim that the settlement's proposed injunctive relief provided benefits to the class because the proposed pricing structure was more "fair."

But I'm going to lose sleep over the typo I missed. Free cup of McDonald's coffee to the first commenter who catches it (to be provided at such mutually agreed-upon time when commenter and I happen to be in the same geographic area).