A bearded visage of me is on the front page of law.com today.
[Since 2009, attorneys with the Center for Class Action Fairness have been objecting on behalf of seven class members] to a $0 settlement in a ludicrous class action against Bluetooth headsets alleging consumer injury because of failure to (adequately) disclose risk of hearing loss from loud volume settings. Apple won a similar case over iPods, but the defendants here decided to pay the attorneys $850,000 to go away. The district court rubber-stamped the settlement and fee request, and CCAF appealed. [On August 19], the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded, instructing the district court to apply more scrutiny to a settlement where the fees were so disproportionate to the class recovery. [654 F.3d 935]
On remand, the plaintiffs re-submitted the same settlement that the Ninth Circuit found so problematic, arguing that the injunctive relief—minor wording changes in product manual warnings—was worth, in conjunction with the costs of notice, $878 million. Since the attorneys were only seeking 0.1% of that amount, isn't that generous? They all but asked for a medal.
Needless to say, the objectors were not persuaded—especially after what a commenter calls a "Perry Mason moment" in the deposition of the plaintiffs' expert. Wednesday, I renewed my clients' objection to the self-serving settlement. [NLJ, earlier on NLJ] I hear a rumor that the Los Angeles Daily Journal is also covering the story today, but I haven't seen it.
The Center for Class Action Fairness is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.