A recent Law 360 story by Rose Krebs, “Attys Seek $6.9M For ‘Trailblazing’ Work on Fresh Market Suit,” reports that Friedlander & Gorris and Robbins Geller are seeking roughly $6.9 million for what they say was "trailblazing" work as part of a proposed $27.5 million settlement to a Delaware Chancery Court suit over the $1.4 billion take-private sale of specialty grocery chain Fresh Market. In a brief, Friedlander & Gorris PA and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP assert they should be awarded $6.875 million for attorney fees and expenses for brokering the $27.5 million payout for a proposed class of former Fresh Market stockholders.
The fee award sought is 25 percent of the settlement fund, an amount the firms argued has been granted under other similar investor suit deals. "Plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel were well-positioned to conclude that the settlement is fair and reasonable," the brief said. "Plaintiff's counsel fought for and reviewed 1.5 million pages of documents." The firms said "the benefits of the $27.5 million settlement are substantial in comparison to the strength of the claims and the risks of further litigation."
Also, Friedlander & Gorris and Robbins Geller said the proposed settlement "resulted from a trailblazing litigation strategy" since the transaction at issue came in the wake of Corwin v. KKR Financial Holdings LLC . That key 2015 Delaware Supreme Court ruling laid out when deference should be given to the business judgment of the board rather than enhanced court scrutiny being applied under the First State's cornerstone "Revlon" standard.
The state Supreme Court's landmark 1986 Revlon v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings decision established an intermediate deal-review standard between deference to director business judgment and the more plaintiff-friendly "entire fairness" assessment, which requires a close look at the fairness of the process and transaction price. In their brief, the firms said they "conceived a novel litigation plan" by obtaining company records under Section 220 of Delaware's General Corporation Law "to plead around Corwin" and defeat a defense under Corwin that deference be given to the board's business judgment.