PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Oct. 19 that he is leading a coalition of 17 attorneys general from across the nation to protect consumers from class action settlement process abuses.
The coalition filed a brief in the U. S Supreme
Court, urging the court to draft a nationwide rule making it so class action
attorneys’ fees in common-fund cash settlements are based on the
amount actually paid out to the consumers in the class. According to the coalition,
this rule would help class action lawsuits better benefit consumers by ensuring
the lawyers get paid in correlation to the amount consumers get paid.
Brnovich, using his statutory authority to speak for
Arizonans covered by federal class action settlements, filed the brief as a “friend
of the court.”
The brief asks the Supreme Court
to review Gascho v. Global Fitness Holdings LLC. In this case, the class action
lawyers agreed to a settlement fund of $15.5 million, allowing them
to seek $2.4 million in fees. The consumers in the case, however, walked away
with only $1.6 million. The other 90 percent of the fund purportedly
reverted back to the defendant.
Brnovich and the coalition argue this happens all too
often. They urge the Supreme Court to set a firm rule that would require fee
percentage to be a percentage of only the money actually paid out of the common
fund to members of the class.