I have helped Judges determine Common Benefit Fee Awards in four different MDLs.
• Sulzer Hip Implant MDL No. 1401
This case settled for just over $1 Billion, and the 5% common benefit fund contained $50 million. After settlement, I drafted the Order setting out the protocols for how attorneys could apply for awards and how the awards would be made (read the Order here).
I then drafted several Orders allocating common benefit awards to the 57 applicants, ranging from $0 to $8.5 Million (read the main Fee Award Order here). This Order has been cited by many courts, and was the first one ever to: (1) withhold fees because attorneys had acted to the “common detriment” of the class; (2) consider the amount of contingent fees the attorney received as a factor in determining common benefit fees; and (3) use different multipliers for different attorneys.
The Sixth Circuit twice upheld the Fee Award Orders on appeal, and complimented the
“holistic and reasonable nature of the court’s analysis.”
• Fleet PhosphoSoda MDL No. 2066
This case settled for a confidential amount between $100 million and $1 Billion, with a 4% common benefit fund. Early in the case, I drafted the Order setting out the guidelines for how common benefit awards would be made, if they became appropriate (read the Order here). This Guidelines Order is now posted as a model on the private Intra-Net website for MDL Judges.
After settlement was reached, I drafted the Order creating the Common Benefit fund that imposed the 4% “tax” on recoveries (read the Order here). I then determined the Common Benefit fee awards for the 11 applicants. The Fee Award Order was filed under seal. No appeal was taken.
• Welding Fumes MDL No. 1535
This case settled for a confidential amount. Early in the case, I drafted the Order setting out guidelines for how common benefit awards would be made, if they became appropriate. It is similar to the Order filed in the Fleet Phosphosoda MDL, above.
The parties’ settlement vested sole discretion with me as to who would receive “expense recoupment” awards, and how much. I determined the award amounts for the 40 applicants. The Award Order was filed under seal. No appeal was taken.
• Polyurethane Foam MDL No. 2196
This case settled for $151 Million. I am currently in the process of drafting an Order determining the propriety of common benefit fee awards.