Seventh Circuit Opines On Dispute Between Class Action Lawyers On How To Divvy Up Settlement Proceeds
In the usual class action case, plaintiff’s lawyers work out among themselves how an attorney fee will be distributed amongst themselves should a settlement be reached. Sometimes, however, when that is not the case, the court must decide the issue. In In re Trans Union Corporation Privacy Litigation, 664 F.3d 1031 (7th Cir. 2011), the Seventh Circuit entered the fray. A law firm who represented individual claimants wanted to be added “to the docket in this appeal” but did not seek intervention as a party. The court noted that the law firm was trying to have it both ways because, on the one hand, it did not want to give up any of its attorney’s fees to class counsel, but on the other hand, it did not want the courts to question its fee arrangements with its clients. The court ruled that it couldn’t have its cake and eat it too, and that it was a party to the litigation for purposes of evaluating its fee arrangement. So there.