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Anthem Data Breach Attorney Fees Report Faulted by Plaintiffs Lawyers and Objector

Citations
Plaintiffs lawyers in the Anthem data breach settlement have objected to the report of a court-appointed special master, which found what it said was inappropriate…

The National Law Journal cited Ted Frank's objections to the special master report that was supposed to analyze the attorneys' billing practices and class action settlement resulting from the Anthem data breach. Frank said the report did not fulfill what the court appointed the special master to do.

Plaintiffs lawyers in the Anthem data breach settlement have objected to the report of a court-appointed special master, which found what it said was inappropriate billing and recommended their $38 million fee request be slashed by nearly 24 percent.

The report was also faulted by Ted Frank, an advocate for reining in class-action litigation.

Frank, representing an objector to the settlement who had asked for a special master, called the report “a disappointingly superficial review” of lead plaintiffs attorneys’ billing, according to an objection he filed on Tuesday.

“As an initial matter, the special master’s report did not accomplish what the court assigned the special master to do,” wrote Frank, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness. “The special master’s rough review failed to determine the propriety of the hours billed and is insufficient to uncover the extent of the duplication and inefficiencies that this court sought.”

Frank, in his objection, said Kleinberg should have followed case law on fee awards in settlements of similar size, which often are between 10 to 20 percent. That would put an appropriate Anthem award at closer to $13.8 million, which is 15 percent of the fund after excluding $23 million in notice and administrative expenses.

He also said that Kleinberg did not reduce enough on the contract attorney rates. 

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