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Plaintiffs Lawyers in Anthem Data Breach Settlement Defend $38M in Fees

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The Recorder discusses the Anthem data breach settlement with Ted Frank.

Plaintiffs lawyers are fighting accusations by an objector that their $38 million fee request in the Anthem data breach settlement was “outrageous on its face” and required a special master to investigate potential over-billing.

“In effect, objector contends that counsel should have litigated this case on the cheap, rather than devoting the resources (and taking the risks) necessary to litigate it well and protect the class,” wrote co-lead plaintiffs attorneys Eve Cervantez and Andrew Friedman in a response filed Jan. 18. “To put it simply, the lodestar in this case reflects first-rate lawyering that yielded a first-rate result, something this court is well equipped to rule upon.”

As for a special master, there was no need for such “satellite litigation,” which would only delay the case and incur costs, they wrote. “Rhetoric aside,” they wrote of the objector, represented by class action critic Ted Frank, “he identifies no billing improprieties that would raise serious questions about counsel’s fee request and which might make the services of a special master useful to the court.”

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California has scheduled a Feb. 1 hearing for final approval of the $115 million settlement, though a hearing on the special master request is expected to be on April 5.

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Frank said: “There are the same problems here that the State Street special master is investigating. The declarations were fascinating: the claim is that dozens of law firms allegedly ​did as much as $1.5 M of lodestar work on spec without any promise or tacit understanding of how they would be paid. I can’t even hire a local counsel for a couple of thousand dollars without signing a lengthy retainer agreement.”

Read the full article at The Recorder.