Cross-posted at WLF’s Forbes.com contributor site
Class action lawyers had a bit of a rough week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a jurisdiction that has seen more than its fair share of class action lawsuits lately.
Fraley v. Facebook. We last discussed the fate of a class action lawsuit against Facebook and its “Sponsored Stories” program almost exactly a year ago. At that time, Judge Richard Seeborg had called into question some aspects of the proposed settlement, including the lawyers’ fee request and the proposed cy pres award.
The settlement has now been finalized. In his August 26 order, Judge Seeborg approved a $20 million settlement fund, from which class members can each claim $15.
Fraley’s lawyers sought fees amounting to 37.5% of the settlement (which equaled $950/hour for lead counsel and $350/hour for second-year associates). Facebook, to its credit, opposed the fee request.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that Judge Seeborg’s ordered injunctive relief (increased transparency for the Sponsored Stories program) had a monetary value to the class members sufficient to justify a fee 12.5% higher than the “common” fee of 25%. Judge Seeborg responded that “there is nothing to suggest, however, that any class member will see a single dollar more in his or her pocket as a result of any of the injunctive provisions.” Continue reading “Two Cheers for Judicial Actions in Facebook, eBay Class Action Settlements”