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$41M Fee Request in $155M Snap Securities Settlement

January 12, 2021 | Posted in : Contingency Fees / POF, Expenses / Costs, Fee Award Factors, Fee Request, Hours Billled, Practice Area: Class Action / Mass Tort / MDL, Settlement Amount / Data

A recent Law 360 story by Rachel O’Brien, “Attys for Snap Investors Seek $41M From $155M Deal” reports that investors of Snap Inc. asked a California federal judge to approve $41.1 million in attorney fees and expenses for Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, as they seek final approval of a nearly $155 million settlement over the social media giant's initial public offering.  The deal, a preliminary version of which was announced in March, ends claims that Snap, the company behind the popular Snapchat messaging app, hid problematic growth metrics leading up to its initial public offering.

The $41.1 million ask includes $38.7 million — 25% of the settlement fund — for attorney fees and $2.4 million in litigation expenses, as lead counsel at Kessler Topaz "vigorously pursued this action from its outset and was actively preparing for trial when the settlement was reached," the filing said.  The attorneys "directed a far-ranging investigation" including filing two complaints, starting document discovery, subpoenaing 20 parties and twice moving to compel Snap to produce documents, among other things, the filing said.

The investors' attorneys collected and reviewed almost 2 million pages of documents and helped prepare five reports from experts, including those in the internet advertising industry, and took or defended five expert depositions, the investors said in the filing seeking a final OK of the agreement.  The attorneys said the settlement class members were informed that their counsel would seek up to 25% of the fund and litigation expenses up to $3.25 million, and while they can object until Jan. 25, no objections to the figures have been filed to date.

Kessler Topaz said its attorneys and professional support staff alone spent more than 50,000 hours working on the case, originally filed in May 2017.  The "requested fee award is reasonable, justified, and well within the range of what courts in this Circuit regularly award in class actions," the filing said.

The March preliminary settlement came only two months before the case was set to go to trial and with a summary judgment motion and class certification appeal still pending.  The deal stipulated that $154.7 million would be paid to close out the federal class action.  Also part of the deal was a separate $32.8 million payment to settle a California state court case over the same alleged misconduct.