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.
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.