Class member and Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Class Action Fairness attorney Anna St. John objected to the settlement approval, class certification, and request for attorneys’ fees in Saska v. Metropolitan Museum of Art on January 27, 2017. The original case claims that the Museum’s “pay what you wish” admission policy deceived the public in violation of state law. The proposed settlement provides class members with near-worthless injunctive relief, primarily in the form of changes to the wording of the admission price: “suggested” and “the amount you pay is up to you” will be substituted for “recommended.” At the same time, and in a clear signal of who the settlement was structured to primarily benefit, the class attorneys are seeking fees of $350,000.
“Claiming that the changes to the Museum’s ‘pay what you wish here’ policy are worth attorneys’ fees of $350,000 is insulting to class members,” said St. John. “Substituting ‘suggested’ and ‘the amount you pay is up to you’ for ‘recommended’ fails to provide any material benefit to anyone.”
You can see CEI’s objection here.
CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness represents class members against unfair class action procedures and settlements. Originally founded by Ted Frank in 2009, the center has won millions for consumers and shareholders, and won landmark precedents that safeguard consumers, investors, courts, and the general public.
Unfair settlements generally serve self-interested lawyers and third parties at the expense of absent class members, the group of people whose rights are traded away to settle a class action. Lawyers have an interest in their fees, defendants have an interest in cheaply disposing of a lawsuit, and the class’s interests can take a back seat in the process. CEI seeks to solve these problems by representing such class members pro bono and presenting judges with the other side of the argument. When CEI prevails, lawyers get less, class members get more, and the rule of law is strengthened.