Coupon settlement in DC approved in Envision EMI case

“Some 15,000 students paid between $2,380 and $2,729 to attend” 2009 inauguration conferences organized by Envision EMI, which class action attorneys claimed, quite plausibly, was a ripoff. So the class members get… two $625 coupons for two more conferences from the same substandard vendor. And those coupons have several limitations, including the fact that only ten percent of seats at any given conference are eligible for coupon use. The settlement is characterized as a “$17 million settlement” in the press, though in fact claims will certainly be much lower. (If fewer than $8 million is awarded, the remainder will go to cy pres, but the settlement does not specify the cy pres recipient.) The lawyers, including the Hausfeld LLP firm, will get over $1.4 million. Several state attorneys general objected, but the court approved the settlement anyway, while holding the fee award in abeyance. Looks like the students will be getting ripped off twice.