Results matching “milberg”

CAFA violation in Korean Air Passenger settlement - PointOfLaw Forum

At first glance, the Korean Air Passenger Settlement looks pretty good: $50 million in cash for class members. You have to dive very deep in the papers to find out that the attorneys are going to ask for $21.5 million of that cash. They justify this by valuing coupons with face value of $36 million at $36 million, but we know from the Class Action Fairness Act and In re HP Inkjet Printer Litig. that you're not allowed to do that. Tsk, tsk. (And, of course, 25% is likely excessive even if the settlement was worth $86 million, given that the lawsuit just piggybacked on a government antitrust investigation. But, of course, the court is never going to hear that unless a class member comes forward and objects, or retains counsel (perhaps pro bono counsel?) to represent them at the fairness hearing.

The class consists of:

All persons and entities (excluding governmental entities, Defendants, and Defendants' respective predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates) who purchased Passenger Air Transportation on [Korean Air or Asiana Airlines], or any predecessor, subsidiary, or affiliate of the Defendants, at any time
during the time period January 1, 2000 through August 1, 2007. As used in this definition, "affiliates" means entities controlling, controlled by, or under common control with a Defendant [and does not include travel agents]. "Passenger Air Transportation" means passenger air transportation service purchased in the United States for flights originating in the United States and ending in the Republic of Korea ("Korea") or flights originating in Korea and
ending in the United States.

There is a claim form online if you want your cash and coupons; class members should get formal notice shortly.

One of the lead class counsel is Jeff Westerman, who you might remember from his Milberg days for his role in the NVIDIA settlement bait-and-switch where he hired an expert witness to testify against letting class members recover what the settlement notice told them they'd recover. So one is skeptical when one reads in the settlement that "Korean Air and Class Counsel shall set the maximum coupon redemption value per ticket by mutual agreement."

Speaking of lack of marginal deterrence value of civil litigation, and also speaking of Milberg ripping off its clients...

Last week, the Second Circuit decided Wyly v. Weiss. Milberg Weiss brought securities litigation against Computer Associates in 1998; while that case was pending, they had brought additional litigation over a stock drop in 2002. The case settled in 2003, as a government investigation was pending, before Milberg conducted any additional discovery over the new allegations, and CA and its officers and directors got broad-based releases, while Milberg (facing its own legal troubles), received $30 to $40 million in CA stock. The settlement was rubber stamped without objection after Milberg represented to the court that it had considered the pending criminal investigation in reaching the settlement.

After the settlement was approved, CA restated more than $2.2 billion in revenue; the waiver was broad enough to cover any claims over that restatement. Numerous shareholders, led by Sam Wyly, were upset that Milberg settled on the quick, and asked Milberg to try to reopen the case under Rule 60(b); Milberg, who had already received its fees, and could jeopardize its standing as class counsel if it did anything to proved that it had negotiated a subpar settlement, refused. (I have former clients who empathize.)

Wyly sued in state court for malpractice. The Milberg defendants successfully enjoined the case in the original federal district court under the All-Writs Act, and the Second Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiffs were seeking to relitigate the original fairness determination, and that that fairness determination precluded a finding of malpractice, because it necessarily included a determination that class counsel performed adequately.

Perhaps the result is right in this particular case (Wyly's case largely rides on the failure to discover 23 boxes of withheld documents that seem to be immaterial). But even if so, the decision is far too overbroad. The question "Did class counsel commit legal malpractice?" (or, more precisely "Was class counsel's performance deficient?") differs from the question "Did the district court correctly rule that the settlement was fair on the record before it as presented by self-interested ex parte participants?" (One seeking a patent before the Patent Office has a duty to self-disclose because of the ex parte process. With rare exceptions, courts have permitted class counsel to affirmatively misrepresent matters to their own fiduciaries.) It cannot be the case that every fairness hearing determination is dispositive on the question of whether class counsel met their ethical duties. Imagine a scenario where class counsel tacitly colludes with the defendants to shortchange the class for its own benefit (much less one where class counsel explicitly colludes with defendants, or engages in a reverse auction to grab the largest share of settlement proceeds), and then wins a fairness determination thanks to a court's failure to see past the ex parte presentation. Is it really the case that class members have no cause of action for deficient performance? It's certainly not the case that a doctor can short-circuit a medical malpractice claim by pointing out that a competent doctor might have ended up with the same result. As I've noted before, we could solve the medical-malpractice crisis overnight if we simply required legal malpractice standards to conform to medical malpractice standards and vice versa.

More: Trask; Reuters.

Related: Judge Easterbrook's dissent in Kamilewicz v. Bank of Boston Corp., 100 F.3d 1348 (7th Cir. 1996).

Three class actions against Internet provider Clearwire (who market their services as "Clear") allege that customers faced undisclosed throttling of Internet speeds. Under a settlement of the pending actions, the attorneys, led by Milberg, will ask for $2 million, to be divvied up among several law firms by Milberg (itself a problematic settlement provision). But Clearwire won't be systematically refunding its customers; class members have to fill out a claim form. Class members who are current customers will get credits on their account after filling out a claim form. Under some generous assumptions (say, 1.3 million current customers with a 2% claims rate and an average claim of $50 that gets entirely used, and 1 million former customers with a 0.5% claim rate and an average claim of $50), Clearwire will settle for about $3.25 million, and the attorneys will get 60% of that. It's almost certain that class recovery will not reach the $6 million figure to justify a $2 million fee under the Ninth Circuit's 25% benchmark rule. Add to that clear sailing and the "kicker," and you have all three Bluetooth elements arguing against settlement approval. Over a million dollars that should be going to class members will instead be going to attorneys.

District courts inconsistently protect class members' rights in claims-made settlements; class counsel frequently implausibly argue, much as in the bad old days of coupon settlements, that courts should value the settlement as if every single class member submitted a claim form and got paid, thus treating a claims-made settlement, where claims rates are usually in the 1% range, like one where the defendant actually takes the initiative to pay every single class member, and permitting outsized fees. Once this happens, class counsel is happy to agree to restrictions on the claims process that throttle down the number of payments that class members will receive, because their fees are based on the denominator rather than the numerator. (Especially ironic in a case like this, where the underlying allegation is that the defendant unfairly throttled service speeds.) Even if a judge were inclined to want to consider the amounts the class was actually paid, settlements usually (as this one does) schedule the end of the claims period to be weeks after the fairness hearing, thus permitting the parties to hide the ball as to what class members actually receive.

One hopes that a class member who receives the postcard or email notice retains a non-profit pro bono attorney to vindicate class members' rights in this case—and class members' rights in future claims-made settlements.

The case is Dennings v. Clearwire Corp., 2:10-cv-01859-JLR (W.D. Wash.).

Activists complaining about credit card debt often singled out the shift in the credit card industry from 5% minimum payments to minimum payments of 2% a month. (See, e.g., this Frontline documentary.) The smaller minimum payments give customers more financial flexibility, but some small percentage of irresponsible spenders will find that they are in long-term debt to the credit card company because they're barely paying off any principal. So, in response to such complaints, and to reduce the risk it was facing during the credit crunch, JP Morgan (who issues Chase credit cards these days) raised the minimum monthly payment back to 5%.

This resulted in a class action. You see, lawyers said, it was unfair to credit-card customers who were planning on paying only 2% a month, and now faced higher fees and interest rates because they couldn't meet the higher minimum payment. After the district court certified a class, the case settled for $100 million, with the class attorneys—including the usual suspects of Lieff Cabraser and Milberg—seeking an oversized $27 million fee plus "expenses" that have not yet been disclosed; a preliminary approval hearing is scheduled for August 3. Press coverage doesn't mention that the class will end up with likely less than $70 million; existing court filings do not indicate the lodestar crosscheck or the approximate hourly rate the attorneys will receive for an MDL with only 337 docket entries and 14 depositions of defendants. Administration expenses will be artificially inflated because class members will be getting checks, when the ones with current Chase accounts could easily get an electronic credit.

The proposed cy pres recipient is "Consumer Action," which already receives funding from JP Morgan. One of the plaintiffs' firms is The Sturdevant Firm, based in San Francisco; the president of Consumer Action, with offices in San Francisco, is Patricia Sturdevant, but that could be a coincidence. Or perhaps not.

The case is In re: Chase Bank USA NA "Check Loan" Contract Litigation, No. 09-md-02032 (N.D. Cal.). [Reuters; class website]

In a settlement of antitrust litigation against Sirius XM that paid law firms like Milberg $13 million, the class got only a promise to freeze list prices for five months. The Center for Class Action Fairness argued below that that could hardly be a benefit to the class, since a class member could instead purchase the same service at a substantial discount from list price; the class notice and relief effectively constituted a marketing program for Sirius. Indeed, if Sirius instead emailed class members a coupon for a dollar off of the service, it would be clearly a coupon settlement worth only a dollar/class member. So how can it be worth $180 million, as the court found, when Sirius wasn't even offering the $1 discount coupon? CCAF's objection also addressed the race-based class certification order of the type previously criticized on this site by Professor Michael Krauss. Nevertheless, the district court approved the settlement.

Wednesday, CCAF filed its opening brief on behalf of Nicolas Martin in the appeal of the court's decision approving the settlement.

The Missouri Supreme Court today let stand an appellate court ruling that affirmed a $21 million fee award to Milberg and other class-action attorneys in a coupon settlement, without ever addressing the Center for Class Action Fairness's argument about the appropriate legal means for valuing coupons. I'm appalled, but thankfully, the Class Action Fairness Act will keep most future out-of-state class members from being ripped off by self-serving attorneys operating in Missouri state courts. Earlier.

Judge Baer approved the $0 Blessing v. Sirius XM settlement and $13 million fee award to Milberg Weiss and other firms yesterday over the Center for Class Action Fairness LLC objection. The decision contradicts (and ignores) Bluetooth, Aqua Dots, and the Class Action Fairness Act (which applies to "coupons" and not just "coupons 'to purchase something [class members] might not otherwise purchase'"), and applied the wrong standard of law in creating an essentially irrebuttable presumption of fairness for the settlement. There's also the unaddressed question of conditioning class certification on an unconstitutional quota. So we'll have an interesting appeal to the Second Circuit, which will either have to reverse or create a circuit split. Shallow coverage at Bloomberg, Reuters, and SiriusBuzz.

The Center is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.

CCAF objection in Blessing v. Sirius XM Radio - PointOfLaw Forum

The Center for Class Action Fairness LLC objected today to a valueless class action settlement: the objection, filed in the Southern District of New York on behalf of a class member, underscores that the proposed Sirius XM Radio settlement would provide valueless injunctive relief to the class but $13 million to class attorneys.

"Certainly, parties to a class action can agree to settle a case for $13 million," said Ted Frank, the lead attorney on the objection and the founder of CCAF. "But if they do, it is inherently unfair and unreasonable for the attorneys to extract 100% of the settlement benefit for themselves. Class actions should be prosecuted on behalf of the class members, not self-serving class counsel."

The settlement of the antitrust class action against Sirius XM requires only that the defendant agree to not raise prices for five months. But this is an entirely valueless promise, given that Sirius XM, facing admittedly heavy competition from Internet music services and MP3 players, has been lowering prices and engaging in deep discounting to keep customers. Yet class counsel (including the Milberg law firm) implausibly claims that the settlement is worth $180 million to the class.

The CCAF objection also targets Judge Harold Baer's class certification order. For several years, Judge Baer has controversially required class counsel to meet racial quotas as a condition of appointment. CCAF has requested that Judge Baer vacate that part of his class certification order as unconstitutional.

The case is Blessing v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 09-cv-10035 (S.D.N.Y.).

The Center for Class Action Fairness, founded in 2009, is a not-for-profit program that provides pro bono representation to consumers and shareholders aggrieved by class action attorneys who negotiate settlements that benefit themselves at the expense of their putative clients. It has won millions of dollars for class members over the last two years.

Documentary "Injustice" on Reelz tonight - PointOfLaw Forum

Doesn't it say something about media views of the civil justice system that the dishonest "Hot Coffee" ended up on HBO, while the pro-reform expose "Injustice," by Brian Kelly, is on Reelz? If you don't get the cable channel, you can watch the trailer. The movie covers the Dickie Scruggs and Milberg Weiss scandals, among other things; interviews in the Chamber-funded movie include John Beisner, Lester Brickman, and Philip Howard. Kelly himself says he is a victim of lawsuit abuse, when it cost him $80,000 to win a lawsuit against a tenant he evicted. [ILR; BLT]

Daniel Fisher at Forbes beats me to it, but the intermediate appellate court signed off on a settlement that awarded $21 million to the attorneys (including Milberg Weiss) but only $5 million in cash and $34 million in face-value of coupons to the class. The court ruled that the settlement approval was not an abuse of discretion, because a 35% fee was within the court's discretion.

Wait a second, readers who have paid attention to this case might ask: the Center for Class Action Fairness argued that the trial court committed an error of law: Missouri class action law follows federal class action law, federal law holds that you cannot value coupons at face value, and it's only by valuing the coupons at face value that you get to 35%—otherwise, the fee is more like 70 or 80 percent of the total value of the settlement, which is plainly unfair and unreasonable. Remarkably, the court mentioned that we made that argument, but didn't address it.

The good news is that the appellate court denied a motion to dismiss the appeal and held that Missouri courts would follow the federal precedent of Devlin v. Scardelletti. Objectors in Missouri now have the right to appeal approvals of class action settlements there; before, an objector would have to move to intervene before having the right to appeal, raising the cost of objecting to a settlement, and giving the trial-court judge a means to prevent appeals of bad rulings.

Guest blogger: Professor Michael Perino - PointOfLaw Forum

This week, Michael Perino will be joining us to talk about his fascinating book, The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance. It's not just a book about the development of the law, but it's a historical snapshot book, an enjoyable casual read akin to The Devil in the White City, Last Call, or Longitude, about 1932 America and the beginnings of federal financial regulation.

Michael Perino is currently the Dean George W. Matheson Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law in New York. Professor Perino's primary areas of scholarly interest are securities regulation and litigation, corporations, class actions, and judicial decision making. Professor Perino has also been a Visiting Professor at Cornell Law School (2005), the Justin W. D'Atri Visiting Professor of Law, Business and Society at Columbia Law School (2002), and a Lecturer and Co-Director of the Roberts Program in Law, Business, and Corporate Governance at Stanford Law School (1995-1998). He was one of the principal developers of Stanford Law School's Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. We've previously seen him on Point of Law for his analysis of attorneys' fees in Delaware shareholder actions and his empirical study of Milberg Weiss fees. I look forward to his posts.

Court rules for NVIDIA - PointOfLaw Forum

The short opinion is self-explanatory (though it confuses a motion to enforce the settlement with an "objection"). As I stated earlier, if the court believed the intellectually dishonest report of Milberg's expert witness, the consumers would lose, and that's exactly what happened. All those consumer advocates complaining that AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion would take away consumers' ability to engage in class actions were completely silent in this class action where plaintiffs' lawyers extinguished valuable claims in exchange for a $13 million payoff. Every single one of my clients would have been better off with AT&T Mobility's arbitration provision rather than this outrageous class action rip-off. The class members didn't even get a chance to object or opt-out because of the bait-and-switch between what the notice promised and what was offered in the settlement.

The question then becomes: why did Milberg submit such an intellectually dishonest expert report to minimize the likelihood that their clients would receive any relief? If I were a class member, I'd be looking for a good legal malpractice attorney right now to sue over this breach of fiduciary duty. It would be nice if the "consumer advocates" fighting against freedom of contract actually advocated for consumers instead of attorneys and spoke up here.

Milberg and several other law firms collected $21 million in quick-pay fees for a Missouri state-court class action settlement that provided face value of $39 million to the class, most of which was in $8.22 coupons. The Center for Class Action Fairness appealed the rubber-stamp approval, and, on Friday, filed a reply brief in the case. Oral argument is set for May 4 in St. Louis.

WSJ on NVIDIA class action settlement - PointOfLaw Forum

Tomorrow is the hearing in the argument over enforcement of the NVIDIA settlement. Ronald Barusch covers the dispute over at the WSJ Deal Journal, and the docket is available at the CCAF blog.

When asking the court to disregard objections to the NVIDIA settlement, the settling parties argued that there would be hundreds of thousands of claims worth at least tens (and probably hundreds) of millions of dollars. (Milberg actually argued that there would be "exponentially" more than hundreds of thousands of claims, but I presume that was because they don't know what "exponentially" means rather than because they were arguing that there would be tens of billions of claims.)

But push has come to shove, and only 30 thousand class members have taken the preliminary steps of asking for relief--and the Settling Parties have the gall to argue that this response rate (which will correspond to less than $10 million of class benefit, less than the $13 million attorney fee) demonstrates the popularity of the settlement administration, because one couldn't reasonably expect any more claims than that. We didn't even ask for those numbers: NVIDIA shamelessly volunteered them as evidence of the success of the settlement.

This case is a poster child for why courts should not award attorneys' fees until after the claims period has ended. If we hadn't intervened in this case, no one would have ever disclosed that Milberg exaggerated class recovery twenty- to fifty-fold, and this would be recorded in some empirical study as evidence of attorneys generously restricting themselves to fees of less than 10% of class recovery, rather than 130% of class recovery.

A new, trimmed down version of the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) was introduced this week, six years after Congress last considered legislation to discourage frivolous lawsuits in federal court.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX),chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the bill's introduction on Wednesday. A news release summarized:

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) imposes mandatory sanctions for lawyers who file meritless suits in federal court. Federal rules mandating sanctions for frivolous suits were watered down in 1993, resulting in the current crisis of widespread lawsuit abuse. LARA restores the mandatory sanctions which hold attorneys accountable for lawsuit abuse.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Reinstates the requirement that if there is a violation of Rule 11, there are sanctions (Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was originally intended to deter frivolous lawsuits by sanctioning the offending party).
  • Requires that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. Those monetary sanctions will include the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit.
  • Reverses the 1993 amendments to Rule 11 that allow parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims by withdrawing them within 21 days after a motion for sanctions has been served.

The text of the House bill, H.R. 966, is available here. The Senate bill is S. 533.

Congress last debated LARA in 2005, when H.R. 420 passed the House only to disappear into the Senate. Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections, which put an end to legislative efforts toward tort reform at the federal level.

The new legislation drops the state-specific language that caused political trouble last time and would likely draw the ire of federalism-minded House Republicans. As Victor Schwartz, general counsel for the American Tort Reform Association, tells us, "This new version of LARA has greater political and practical strength. It is trimmer and focuses solely on the problem: stopping frivolous claims. The President of the United States recognized this problem in his State of the Union and Congress should act now to end unnecessary and costly lawsuit abuse."

If there was ever any question of whether Milberg was going to side with its putative clients or its putative adversary, we now have an answer from this Litigation Daily story ($):

Lead class counsel Jeff Westerman of Milberg said in a statement that Frank is "working against the interests of consumers who deserve to get their computers replaced."

"This settlement is providing class members with repairs and replacement computers, and thousands have already submitted claims," Westerman said in the statement. "When it comes to the replacement computers, we hired an independent expert who confirmed that we were adhering to the terms of the settlement. [Frank's] claims to the contrary reveal an anti-consumer agenda aimed at stopping the settlement from proceeding."

Three obvious points:

1. Millions of HP owners were subject to the settlement; "thousands have already submitted claims." Or, in other words, less than 1% of the class has submitted claims. And that's aside from the fact that "submitting a claim" doesn't indicate approval of the settlement administration, just an understanding that half a loaf is better than none. All of my clients have "submitted claims"; none are happy with the settlement.

2. In case it wasn't clear from my briefs, I fully support "consumers [getting] their computers replaced." One can readily look at my proposed order, and see that I am not trying to "stop[] the settlement from proceeding." There is already an existing court order for the settlement to proceed, and no one has moved to stay that order.

3. I've heard of spin, but it's remarkable that demanding that consumers get what their attorneys promised them in a class action settlement and notice is considered "an anti-consumer agenda." To review: it's the tort reform advocate who has filed papers with the court asking for consumers to get what they were promised; it's the trial lawyers who have announced their intent to file papers with the Court siding with the defendant and alleged wrongdoer insisting that the consumers--their clients--get less than what the Court has already ordered.

Leading tech blog Engadget caught wind of our motion:

Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness says that NVIDIA has no business passing off cheap laptops, and we think he might have a case -- after all, the judge ordered that NVIDIA provide "a replacement computer of like or similar kind and equal or similar value," and it doesn't take a lawyer to see that the $400 [sic] Compaq Presario CQ56-115DX that the company's offering doesn't come close to compensating owners of faulty machines. We joked that you might be better off selling your old laptop for parts on eBay, and that might not be far from the truth.

(The Center for Class Action Fairness is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.)

They deny it, but NVIDIA marketed a defective chip for use in laptop motherboards that would overheat and damage other components in the laptop. A series of class actions were consolidated in the Northern District of California behind lead counsel Milberg LLP (formerly Milberg Weiss), and settled.

The settlement seemed eminently fair: Apple and Dell laptop owners would get their laptops repaired for free; HP laptops couldn't be repaired, but their owners would get a HP replacement laptop of "like or similar kind and value" (though they weren't more specific than that in the class notice, the settlement papers, or the court filings). NVIDIA set aside hundreds of millions of dollars of charges for the settlement and class counsel got $13 million in fees. There were a handful of professional objectors making boilerplate claims, but if a class member had come to me late last year and asked if I would object to the settlement, I would have told them no.

I've seen class counsel and defendants tacitly collude to rip off class members in a variety of ways in the class action settlement process, but never anything like this: NVIDIA simply ignored what the settlement said, and told every class member that, no matter which of the thousands of configurations of laptop they owned, from the most budget Compaq to the highest-end 17-inch dual-core-processor full-size laptop to $1700 tablet computers with touch screens to sophisticated entertainment centers designed to be hooked up to HDTVs and edit video, all they would get under the settlement was a low-end single-core-processor Compaq CQ-56-115DX, which sold at Best Buy last week for $329.99. Milberg, rather than enforcing their clients' rights, told class members who complained that this is what the judge approved, and generally ignored them. It's not surprising that the response rate is less than 1% so far, with less than two weeks before the claims deadline; NVIDIA would save tens of millions of dollars relative to what they promised in the settlement if no one intervened.

Class members apparently abandoned by their attorneys approached me, and the Center for Class Action Fairness (which is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute) on Monday filed expedited motion papers asking the Court to enforce the settlement. In my mind, it's so plainly obvious that the settlement is not being followed that the only question remaining is why I was the one who filed these papers with the Court rather than Milberg. I hope we get to find that out. And look at me: the tort reform advocate is a plaintiffs' attorney now. Most of the relevant docket is available at the CCAF site.

Around the web, February 13 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Tort reform in Wisconsin? Package passed to undo bad Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions, establish Daubert standards, cap punitive damages. [Sachse; Shopfloor; ALEC; NFIB]
  • "Uncommon Law: Ruminations on Public Nuisance" [Faulk @ BEPress]
  • Does David Frum want to criminalize agency costs? [Bainbridge]
  • How bad is the California Supreme Court's Kwikset decision? [Jackson; CJAC; Overlawyered]
  • Some plaintiffs' lawyers pretend that their real Toyota sudden acceleration lawsuit is over the lack of a brake override (which wouldn't prevent driver error); others continue to promote their junk science theory. [NLJ]
  • "Does America have a lawyer problem, or a law problem?" [Reynolds @ Washington Examiner]

  • "Arbitration records lift curtain on Milberg's legal woes" [NLJ]
  • Paging the Truth on the Market bloggers! When it comes to the North Carolina State Bar regulating attorneys overcharging clients, they're slow or unwilling to act, but they're quick on the draw when it comes to innovations that might lead to increased competition and lower fees: "Proposed NC Ethics Opinion Says Lawyers Can't Ethically Offer Groupon Deals." [ABAJ]
  • Andrew Grossman testifies to Senate Judiciary Committee that there isn't a free lunch when you let bankruptcy courts coerce mortgage modifications. [Senate Judiciary Committee]

  • Arbitrator awards $7.5 million to non-tenured teachers fired by Michelle Rhee. Thanks, teachers' union! [Washington Examiner]

A "fountain of fees" - PointOfLaw Forum

At, Daniel Fisher discusses the Center for Class Action Fairness's appeal of a rubber-stamp approval of a $21-million fee award for a coupon class action settlement in litigation against A.G. Edwards. The trial-court judge, Angela Quigless, who signed off on the windfall for the former Milberg Weiss, is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the federal bench in St. Louis. Earlier.

Update: more from Allison Frankel.

Milberg Weiss and Bernie Madoff - PointOfLaw Forum

There's a certain schadenfreude in learning that Mel Weiss and David Bershad of Milberg Weiss, the corrupt plaintiffs' firm which regularly bragged about its success in sniffing out fraud before anyone else did (which isn't hard when you indiscriminately accuse corporations of fraud whenever their stock price drops and ignore all the false positives), had invested their money with the infamous Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Except it turns out that Weiss and Bershad were among the few to profit from the scheme; the bankruptcy trustee is suing the two for the return of $20.4 million. [Bloomberg via ABAJ]

Weiss long claimed before his conviction that he didn't do anything other securities lawyers weren't doing. The return of Republicans to power in the House raises the possibility of the delicious scenario where Milberg Weiss lawyers are invited to testify under oath and name names.

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