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Fee Request Filed in MF Global Metals Settlement

January 15, 2015 | Posted in : Contingency Fees / POF, Expenses / Costs, Fee Award Factors, Fee Request

A recent Law 360 story, “Atty Seek Fees in $27M MF Global Metals Settlement,” reports that attorneys representing plaintiffs in two class actions against MF Global Inc. asked a New York federal judge to approve attorneys’ fees, each equal to about a third of the funds they were able to secure for their clients in the $27 million settlement over price manipulation in the palladium and platinum markets.

Doyle Lowther, which represents the physical commodities investors, asked for about $4 million in fees and $229,230 in expenses.  Lovells Stewart Halebian Jacobson, which represents the futures defendants, requested 29.5 percent of yet-to-be determined common fund and $704,294 in expenses.  Both firms said that the amounts are warranted by the extraordinary amount of work they had to do and that the contingent risk they bore was much higher than in typical commodities manipulation case.

The settlements allow the futures plaintiffs to file a claim against MF Global’s estate valued at nearly $18.8 million and allow the physical commodities plaintiffs to file a more than $2.3 million claim.  The plaintiffs will receive a combined $5.25 million in cash, largely paid by MF Global’s insurer, and around $1 million for assigning their claims against former MF Global trader Joseph Welsh to the company.  The deal came a few months after Judge William Pauley gave preliminary approval to settlements with Welsh and hedge fund Moore Capital Management LP totaling nearly $100 million.

The plaintiffs, who sued after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) made allegations of attempted manipulation in April 2010, had valued their claims against defendant Moore at higher than $400 million.  Moore paid $25 million to settle the CFTC action but did not admit wrongdoing.  The fund denies wrongdoing in this case and had pushed for the suit’s dismissal before it also agreed to settle this summer.

The case is In re Platinum and Palladium Commodities Litigation in the U.S. District Court fof the Southern District of New York.