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Special Master Tells Class Counsel to Clean Up their Act

Citations

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly cited CEI and Ted Frank on the class action case Arkansas Teachers Retirement System v. State Street Bank & Trust Co.

The Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute appeared in State Street as amicus curiae. The public policy nonprofit advocated for the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of class members in the investigation of the law firms’ fee petitions. The organization volunteered to serve in that role.

Wolf ruled against CEI’s request for appointment of a guardian ad litem, but Theodore H. Frank, litigation director of CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness, says he is pleased with the results of Rosen’s investigation nonetheless.

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Frank says he is hopeful that the results of the investigation in State Street will prompt judges across the country to be more open to using special masters to investigate fee petitions in class actions when questions arise. Though such investigations can be expensive, particularly when class counsel fight “tooth and nail” to protect their interests, Frank says they also can provide a valuable deterrent effect.

“All you need to do is punish the attorneys that are overbilling in a few of these cases,” he says, adding that disciplinary sanctions need to be on the table for there to be a true deterrent.

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