A recent Law 360 story by Reenat Sinay, “Abraham Fruchter Seeks $12M in Fees for TerraForm Deal,” reports that attorneys at Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP asked a New York federal court for over $12 million in attorney fees for inking a $48.75 million deal resolving investor claims that TerraForm allowed renewable energy company SunEdison to use its money to stave off financial ruin. TerraForm Global Inc., a yieldco of the now-bankrupt SunEdison Inc., misled its shareholders about SunEdison’s financial health in its initial public offering documents, the group of individual and institutional investors leading the class action alleged.
The fee amount proposed by their counsel represents 25% of the total settlement fund, which was reduced from an initial $57 million agreed to in late 2017 to nearly $49 million in September after investors who accounted for more than 5% of stock purchases opted out of the deal. “This significant monetary recovery was achieved through the skill, hard work and tenacity of Plaintiffs’ Counsel, which litigated this Action on a fully contingent basis against highly skilled defense counsel,” the attorneys said.
The $12,187,500 request falls within an appropriate percentage range of the settlement fund that other courts have awarded in similar class actions, and is fair under the lodestar method, which multiplies the number of hours worked by a “reasonable” hourly rate, the investors’ counsel said.
“Plaintiffs’ Counsel respectfully submit that the quality of their representation is best evidenced by the quality of the result achieved,” the attorneys said. “Plaintiffs believe the $48.75 million Settlement provides an excellent result for the Settlement Class and speaks loudly and forcefully to the quality of representation." They further asked the court to award them $453,189 in reimbursement for litigation expenses, according to the filing.