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September 05, 2009

Reminder: Don't Piss Off the Judge

Every now and then I post one of these where an attorney has done something stupid and gets smacked down for it. I can't help it; they make me happy.

In this weekend edition, let's point and laugh at some greedy attorneys leeches trying to get in on a class action settlement (PDF).

[I]n a pleading which may charitably be described as disingenuous, Objectors’ Counsel argue they assisted the Court in finding class counsel’s fee request unreasonable. They claim their efforts convinced the Court to reduce class counsel’s fee from $110 million to $64.8 million. They have the temerity to suggest they are the ones who saved the class $45 million in attorney fees, entitling them to a six-figure fee of their own.[FN1]

[FN1] Objectors’ Counsel maintain their “lodestar” is “approximately $74,500,” and request a multiplier of 2.5. [Docket No. 846, at ¶ 8.] The Court considers it preposterous that any legitimate lawyer would charge $74,500 to prepare an eight-page submission, and submit it tardy to boot.

Their suggestion is laughable. If the Court may be permitted an egregious paraphrase of Winston S. Churchill: Seldom in the field of securities litigation was so little owed by so many to so few. Objectors’ Counsel make “outlandish fee requests in return for doing virtually nothing.” In re Cardinal Health, 550 F. Supp. 2d at 753. And nothing is the quantity of assistance they have provided to the Court and the class. Their goal was, and is, to hijack as many dollars for themselves as they can wrest from a negotiated settlement. Objectors’ eight-page-long, two-week-late pleading presented no facts, offered no law, and raised no argument upon which the Court relied in its deliberation or ruling concerning class counsel’s motion for fees. Indeed, the Court expressly rejected the lion’s share of objectors’ arguments directed to the use of paralegals and contract attorneys.

Accordingly, the Court holds, as a matter of fact and law, objectors have conferred no benefit whatsoever on the class or on the Court. Objectors’ Counsel are entitled to an award equal to their contribution . . . nothing.

Ouch.

BTW, that final ellipsis is not my doing. That's how the judge wrote it.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:45 PM

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