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Class Action Blog

As society becomes increasingly litigious, and as plaintiff attorneys market their services more aggressively, class action litigation is posing a rapidly growing threat to businesses in all sectors.

Class Action Blog
September 13, 2019

Ninth Circuit En Banc Reverses Panel and Approves The Nationwide Class Action Settlement Of MDL Cases Regarding Vehicle Fuel Economy Misrepresentations.

Most class action cases are complex. Whenever multiple class actions are joined in an MDL, the complexity is greatly increased. This blog post discusses the five consolidated appeals of an objected to nationwide class action settlement. On appeal, a divided three judge panel vacated the class certification and remanded. However, “a majority of the nonrecused active judges” voted to rehear the case en banc. That resulted in six judges joining all of the majority opinion, three judges joining the dissenting opinion, and one judge joining separate parts of the majority and dissenting opinions.

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Class Action Blog
September 13, 2019

Second Circuit Finds 1993 Toxic Tort Class Actions on Life Support, But Still Alive.

Dozens of agricultural workers from Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama alleged that 1960s to 1980s pesticide exposures on banana plantations caused numerous health problems. Plaintiffs initially filed class action suits in Texas and Hawaii which thereafter had tortured procedural histories, including dismissals in the United States, refilings and dismissals in other nations, refilings in Texas, a trip to the United States Supreme Court by the Hawaii litigants, and continuing litigation in Hawaii.

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Class Action Blog
September 13, 2019

Common Fund Settlement Attorney Fee Awards are Controlled by Common Fund Law Despite Statutory Fee Shifting Provisions.

The Second Circuit addressed the family trust’s objection to the fee awarded to lead class counsel in the Fresno County securities fraud class action case. The “novel issue” raised was whether “an attorney’s fee is presumptively limited to the unenhanced lodestar fee” when the case is prosecuted for violations of “a statute with a fee shifting provision” even if the case was settled by “the creation of a common fund.”

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Class Action Blog
September 4, 2019

Nearly “Worthless” Class Action “Nuisance Case” Merits Minimal Fee Award

Mega-fund class action settlements can result in substantial attorneys’ fee awards. However, when a district court judge is confronted with a case that the judge deems “a nuisance case” resulting in a settlement “pretty close to … worthless,” the attorneys’ fee award is very likely going to be minimal, notwithstanding any lodestar calculation plaintiffs’ counsel makes.

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Class Action Blog
September 4, 2019

$208.66M Settlement Justifies $41.73M Attorney Fee Award

The Ninth Circuit ruled on an objector’s appeal of the amount of the attorneys’ fee award and method of calculation in this mega-fund class action settlement. The student athletes claimed that the NCAA bylaws allowing maximum grants-in-aid for less than the full cost of attending NCAA schools was improper. After suit was filed, the NCAA amended its bylaws to allow “member schools to provide up to the full cost of attendance in athletic aid.” Thereafter, the named plaintiffs and the NCAA and other defendants settled the case for a gross settlement amount of $208,664,445.00 which resulted in an award of approximately $6,000 for each class member who played sports for four years. There were estimated to be 53,000 class members. After the district court approved the monetary settlement and $41,732,889.00 in attorneys’ fees and $3,184,274.38 in expenses, an objector to the fee award appealed.

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