In the In re Apple MagSafe Power Adapter Litigation, the attorneys walked away with $3.1 million, while the class got less than $1 million, and likely less than a quarter of what the attorneys got. The district court (Judge Ware in the N.D. Cal.) not only rubber-stamped the settlement while ignoring the Bluetooth precedent, but then issued an order to protect the illegitimate settlement, requiring a punitive appeal bond or the dismissal of any appeals. This deterred three of the five appellants, with a fourth being sanctioned for failing to dismiss his appeal. But Marie Newhouse, represented by me and attorneys with the Center for Class Action Fairness, held firm in her objection, and, after some delaying tactics by the plaintiffs, the opening brief was filed today, as we test whether the Bluetooth principles have teeth or can be ignored by district courts and trial lawyers with impunity. To this add another few questions: when is it permissible to have a "claims-made" settlement that pays the attorneys regardless of whether class members make claims or, as in this case, are deterred from making claims by artificial hoop-jumping requirements? Can class counsel take credit for "injunctive relief" that has the defendant doing what it was already doing before the complaint was filed? Is class counsel entitled to a commission on payments to the settlement administrator?
The case is Kitagawa v. Apple, Inc., No. 12-15782 (9th Cir.).