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Seattle federal court cuts fees

Plaintiffs' lawyers (including the Lerach spinoff of the Milberg Weiss firm) in the InfoSpace securities litigation sought a quarter of the $34.3 million settlement fund, even though their ostensible clients would only end up with ten cents a share. This time, however, class plaintiffs The New York State Teachers' Retirement System, the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System objected to the fee request. The Western District of Washington noted that it was a "garden variety" securities case, that the attorneys never even had to file a response to the defendants' motion to dismiss before the case was settled, and that discovery resulted in the production of eleven boxes of documents. Thus, the court decided to award just under $4 million, or more than $900/hour for the 4200 hours billed by 29 attorneys. Remarkably, this is a step in the right direction, since the Ninth Circuit regularly awards 25% contingency fees to class lawyers as a "benchmark." (In re InfoSpace, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2004 WL 1879013 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 5, 2004); Lyle Roberts, The 10b-5 Daily, Aug. 30).

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.