August 26, 2022
A recent Law 360 story by Piper Hudspeth Blackburn, “Apple Urges Judge To Trim IPhone Class Atty Fees” reports that Apple Inc. has asked a New York federal judge to lower a $6.6 million fee request from attorneys who helped secure a $20 million class settlement for iPhone users over device updates, insisting that there is a lack of documentation supporting the price tag. While attorneys from Pomerantz LLP and Bronstein Gewirtz & Grossman LLC have asked for one-third of the payout for their services, Apple wants the award shaved by $666,000 to 30% of the total settlement, or exactly $6 million. The reduction, Apple argued in a brief, would provide an additional $600,000 to the class and give each member a payment of $68.56, up from $62.94 at the current number of claims.
Apple also took aim at the plaintiff's counsel's billable hours, calling their submission "insufficient." According to Apple's memorandum, the class's counsel failed to submit any documentation that "substantiates" the over 10,000 hours they billed for the suit that lasted more than six years. "Class Counsel merely provide a chart listing the names of billers, their requested hourly rate, and an aggregate number of hours each worked, with no elucidation as to whom did what," the motion said.
In an Aug. 12 motion for attorney fees, the plaintiff's attorneys said the fee is warranted given the number of hours they spent working on the suit and the expenses they incurred in the process – as well as the favorable outcome they achieved. "From the outset, class counsel understood they were embarking on a complex, expensive, and likely lengthy litigation with no guarantee of ever being compensated for the substantial investment of time and money the case would require," the attorneys wrote.
Apple also asked the court to reduce the requested $2.8 million in litigation expenses and service awards of $15,000 for each named plaintiff. Apple contends that a reduction of the amount of the plaintiff's service award is warranted because the plaintiffs would receive an award one hundred times greater than the maximum recovery afforded to class members. Apple also took issue with the reported costs for meals, taxis and online research, which they said were not recoverable.