One of the larger points of contention in class-action settlements is the size of the attorneys’ fees. Indeed, with a few exceptions, no one defends the size of attorneys fees, and the most heated criticisms decry the size of the fees compared to the recovery the class actually receives. Which is what makes a recent case from the Ninth Circuit, In re Mercury Interactive Corp. Securities Litigation, so surprising: it turns out that Rule 23 already has one simple, often-ignored measure for limiting the amount of fees class counsel can charge.

The Mercury case arose after public … Continue Reading

Vanderbilt law professor Brian Fitzpatrick’s year-old paper The End of Objector Blackmail has received a fair amount of attention from various lawyer-bloggers and lawyer-tweeters in the last week.  The chatter stems from the attention he draws to a practice known as quick-pay provisions – provisions to pay plaintiffs’ counsel immediately when settling a case, even before the class has received any relief.

The logic behind these provisions is that, if plaintiffs’ counsel were paid up front, they wouldn’t have to bribe objectors to drop their objections to the proposed settlement, which would reduce the amount of litigation over … Continue Reading