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Class Counsel Seek $23.2M in Attorney Fees/Costs in BNY Settlement

May 1, 2019 | Posted in : Class Action, Contingency Fees / POF, Expenses / Costs, Fee Award Factors, Fee Request, Hourly Rates / Hourly Billing

A recent Law 360 story by Dean Seal, “Lieff Cabraser, Kessler Topaz Seek $23.2M for BNY Deal,” reports that attorneys for a class of investors want 30% of the $72.5 million settlement they negotiated with the Bank of New York Mellon over claims that it overcharged for certain foreign currency conversions.  Counsel from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP said that the "extraordinary" recovery achieved after three years of hard-fought litigation for holders of BNY-backed American depositary receipts justifies a $21.75 million attorney fee award and $1.41 million in expenses.

The investors had alleged they'd been overcharged on conversions of their foreign currency dividends for more than two decades, presenting their attorneys with a host of challenges for claims that could be time-barred or claimants that lacked standing, the attorneys told a New York federal judge.  "Even if the court ultimately certified a litigation class, it might have held only claims encompassing FX transactions within only a few years of the case's commencement could proceed, which would have vastly reduced classwide damages," according to the motion.  "The requested fee is, in short, commensurate with plaintiffs' counsel's vigorous efforts as well as the end result."

To date, only six ADR holders have opted out of the settlement, and none have objected, the investors said.  Counsel for the ADR holders said they've devoted more than 32,535 hours to the action and are seeking $1.41 million on top of their fees award for expenses, including $35,000 in awards for the ADR holders named as plaintiffs in the complaint.