Williamson v. McAfee; Kirby v. McAfee
CCAF objected to the approval of a settlement that allocates a disproportionate share of the settlement proceeds to the attorneys and has all of the hallmarks of an unfair, lawyer-driven settlement identified by the Ninth Circuit. Despite having class members’ contact information and an awareness that consumer class actions such as this typically have single-digit claims rates, the parties required class members to file a cash-election claim to receive any cash benefit from the settlement. The non-electing class members will be sent a “value certificate” worth $11.50 in McAfee and Intel Security consumer products–coupons that the overwhelming majority of class members will never use. By structuring the settlement to provide such illusory relief, the defendant limited its payout while class counsel claimed an excessive fee award based on an inflated settlement benefit valuation derived from a fictional 100% claims rate.