A recent Law 360 by Sydney Price, “Attys Get $37M For Landing Forex Rigging Deals,” reports that a New York federal judge awarded $36.8 million in attorney fees to counsel for investors who accused a group of banks of rigging foreign exchange markets, about $10.4 million less than the lawyers wanted, for securing nearly $186 million in settlements for their clients. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said in a letter that class counsel sought legal fees of $47.2 million, which represents 25.4% of the settlement fund, and litigation expenses of $845,471.57. Judge Kaplan decided to apply a lodestar method to evaluate the payout, which removed some billable hours counsel included in its request.
Counsel submitted a proposed lodestar of $29.9 million for over 53,000 hours worked. This calculation included over 3,000 hours by four non-lawyer analysts, including a derivatives expert. Judge Kaplan said counsel did not provide enough data on the rates charged by these analysts to include them in his final calculation. The litigation expenses of $845,471.57 were granted without objections.
"After approximately six years of hard-fought litigation, counsel obtained eight class action settlements and twelve settling defendants, creating a common fund of $185,875,000," Judge Kaplan said. "This was a good result for the class and counsel deserve to be compensated adequately." The attorneys previously noted that no other firms attempted to represent the class in the case, contending that was "likely because of the ... high risks" the investors knew they would face in the matter.
The suit accused the banks of coordinating a "horizontal conspiracy to manipulate prices in favor of the defendants' derivatives trading positions" and cites investigations by Australia's securities regulator, which showed certain banks had worked together to fix derivative contract prices.
The parties reached a final settlement in the case last May. Credit Suisse had agreed to pay $8.88 million, and a group of five other banks, comprising BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS, had agreed to pay a total of $40 million to end the claims they face in the matter.
The settlement sum also includes $137 million in settlements reached earlier in the matter, including December 2021 agreements that Australia and New Zealand Banking and Commonwealth Bank of Australia would each pay $35 million, National Australia Bank would pay $27 million and Morgan Stanley would pay $7 million. Westpac Banking Corp. agreed to pay $25 million in March 2021, and JPMorgan struck a $7 million settlement deal in November 2018.