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Attorney Fee Info Needed for $182.5M Euribor Settlement

December 3, 2018 | Posted in : Class Action, Fee Award, Fee Award Factors, Fee Request

A recent Law 360 story by Dean Seal, “$182.5M Euribor Deal Won’t Get OK’d Without Atty Fee Info,” reports that a New York federal judge said he will not grant preliminary approval for a $182.5 million settlement between investors JP Morgan Chase & Co and Citigroup over claims of a conspiracy to manipulate the Euro Interbank Offered Rate without first seeing what the investor's counsel intends to seek in attorneys' fees.  U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel said he thoroughly reviewed the preliminary approval motion and its supporting documents but unless it was an oversight on his part, he was not able to locate the investor attorneys' fees and expenses proposal, leading him to deny the motion without prejudice.

"To folks who make their living bringing to light material omissions by others, these would be fairly glaring material omissions in a submission to the court because the court, in considering preliminary approval, would be deprived of knowing the proposed net settlement funds available to the class," Judge Castel said.

The proposed settlement put before the court less than two weeks earlier would resolve claims from investors in Euribor-linked products that JPMorgan and Citi were among several big banks that conspired to rig the interest rate benchmark, which is used to reflect the interest rate charged on short-term euro loans between big banks.

Making no mention of the merits of the settlement, Judge Castel said the most direct mention of the attorneys' fees proposal came in a proposed "mailed notice" to be sent to potential class members, which contained unfilled blank spaces in lines stating what percentage of the settlement fund would be used for an attorneys' award or incentive awards for the class representatives.  The judge said he hopes to hear back from the investors' counsel that "the court has it all wrong" and that the information he seeks was "disclosed on page such and so of a particular portion of the submissions."

Along with a recently finalized $309 million settlement with Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC, the deal with Citi and JPMorgan, the only remaining bank defendants, would bring the Euribor investors' total recovery up to $491.5 million, although the settlement motion indicated that investors may continue to pursue claims against foreign defendant banks that were dismissed from the action in February 2017 for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The case is Sullivan v. Barclays PLC et al., case number 1:13-cv-02811, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.