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OpenMarket: Class Action Fairness

  • A Class Merger: CEI and the Center for Class Action Fairness Get Hitched

    October 1, 2015

    Litigation has been an important part of CEI since its earliest years—from our NYC rent control case in the 1980s, to our lawsuits against the lethal aspects of federal fuel economy standards several years later, to our constitutional challenges to the Big Tobacco deal (unsuccessful) and Sarbanes Oxley (successful). More recently, there was our Supreme Court Obamacare case, decided this past June (tragically unsuccessful) and our newly-revived Dodd Frank case, reinstated by a D.C. Circuit panel in July.

    Today we announce CEI’s merger with the Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF), a young nonprofit outfit that has racked up an extremely impressive track record of objecting to abusive class action settlements. These are class actions and shareholder derivative cases in which the plaintiff class wins little or nothing, while their...

  • In re Capital One TCPA Litigation Seventh Circuit appeal

    May 8, 2015
    Litigation over whether Capital One and its affiliates violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act settled for $75.5 million—about $4 for each of the 17.5 million class members who allegedly had a statutory claim for $500 or more. Six law firms asked for 30% of that, or over $22.6 million. We objected on behalf of a class member, Jeffrey Collins, introducing evidence showing that something more in the 4.6% range would more than fully compensate class counsel for the risk they incurred. The district court did not adopt our arguments, but agreed with us that there should be a declining percentage as the fund grew larger, and awarded "only" $15,668,265. That's for 4,268 hours of work by six law firms, including associates and paralegals, or over $3,671/hour. Other TCPA cases have awarded over $5,000/hour for similarly mediocre results.

    This award is not because the...
  • In re Online DVD Antitrust Litigation: adverse decision and en banc petition

    March 17, 2015
    You might recall the settlement approval in Online DVD Antitrust Litigation we briefed back in 2012. A district court held that the Wal-Mart $12.03 "gift cards" the settlement awarded weren't "coupons," refused to apply the Class Action Fairness Act, and awarded fees based on the face value of the coupons.

    On February 27, the Ninth Circuit, in a Judge Sidney Thomas opinion, affirmed.

    Wait a second! careful readers exclaim, Didn't you already win that exact issue on appeal?!

    Yep. Appellees made the same arguments about "settlement vouchers" and attorney-fee calculations in Redman v. RadioShack Corp., 768 F.3d 622 (7th Cir. 2014...
  • Big cy pres victory in 8th Circuit: Oetting v. Green Jacobson

    January 8, 2015
    For years, parties have used cy pres—the practice of giving settlement money to charity instead of the class—in abusive ways. When proposed by defendants, cy pres can be used to create the illusion of relief to justify greater attorneys' fees at the expense of the class when in fact all that is happening is that the defendant is changing accounting entries on...
  • Cy Pres You'll Read This

    October 10, 2014
    Learn about the state of cy pres law without having to pay for a CLE class!

    Today, Washington Legal Foundation published a short and useful working paper authored by James M. Beck and Rachel B. Weil titled "Cy Pres" Awards: Is the End Near for a Legal Remedy With No Basis in Law? 

    The paper effectively summarizes recent litigation demonstrating courts' skepticism of such awards, wherein settlement funds are paid to third parties instead of to class members.

    Beck and Weil highlight some CCAF-generated precedents, such as Chief Justice Roberts's statement in...
  • Oral Argument in Pearson v. NBTY, Inc.

    October 7, 2014

    Are you trick-and/or-treating in downtown Chicago this Halloween?

  • Opening Brief in Gascho v. Global Fitness Holdings

    October 3, 2014
    Candy corn, pumpkin pie, egg nog . . . no wonder that three months from now we'll all be joining gyms.

    So let's inaugurate the 2014 Holiday Season with the opening brief in this appeal of an unfair settlement over gym memberships: Gascho v. Global Fitness Holdings, LLC, No. 14-3798 (6th Cir.). (You might remember this settlement from November 2013, when it was winding its way through the district court.)

    Joshua Blackman, a class member, Texas citizen, law professor...
  • Victory! Redman v. Radioshack

    September 19, 2014
    CCAF won a tremendous victory for class members in Redman v. Radioshack, just eleven days after oral argument!

    Judge Richard Posner, a legal authority renowned worldwide, wrote an excellent and accessible opinion, explaining that class action plaintiffs' attorneys' fees must be proportionate to the benefit they've realized for their clients, and that a coupon is a coupon regardless of the percentage discount that it represents.

    You can read more about the underlying case here. The oral argument...
  • Redman v. RadioShack, Inc. / oral argument today

    September 8, 2014
    As we discussed earlier, class counsel agreed to a settlement over RadioShack credit-card receipt legality that would have paid themselves $1 million, but the 16-million-member class 83 thousand coupons with a face value of $10. The district court approved the settlement because (1) it held the $2.25 million spent to distribute those coupons was a class benefit and (2) the coupons weren't "coupons." Oral argument is scheduled this morning in the Seventh Circuit. Some time this afternoon or tomorrow, a recording of the argument will be available online.

    • ...
  • Ted Frank speaking in Trenton September 16

    September 5, 2014

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