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Robbins Geller Seeks Third of $15M OvaScience Settlement

June 22, 2022 | Posted in : Fee Request

A recent Law 360 story by Brian Dowling, “Robbins Geller Seeks Third of $15M OvaScience Settlement” reports that Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP asked Tuesday for a one-third cut of a $15 million settlement that investors won from OvaScience and its venture capital backer Longwood Fund over shareholder losses allegedly caused by misrepresentations about the success of a new fertility treatment.

The lead firm asked for $5 million in attorney fees for the more than 18,500 billable hours it and other class attorneys spent pursuing claims that OvaScience — the venture capital firm that was "running the show" at the fertility treatment company — had misstated the treatment's success.

The class attorneys also asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to let them recoup $813,208 in other litigation expenses tied to the action, which settled in March.

Robbins Geller partner Stephen R. Astley argued that the civil action was fraught with risks and the case could have gone belly-up.

"Given that an excellent result was achieved for the class in the face of these risks, lead counsel should be rewarded accordingly, "Astley wrote in an affidavit accompanying the fee motion. "Indeed, without the efforts and skill of lead counsel, this settlement would not have been consummated."

The attorneys said the $5 million fee request is also in line with other fee awards under the "lodestar" method, which looks at what the attorneys would have otherwise billed for the work and then applies a multiplier in light of a number of factors.

Class counsel's lodestar came to $12.8 million, with partner-level attorneys billing from $850 to $1,080 an hour and associate-level lawyers billing at $450 to $650 an hour, according to the filing.

Robbins Geller also pointed out that OvaScience was represented by "one of the finest law firms in the country" in Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC.

"This prominent law firm and its attorneys zealously provided its clients with a very vigorous and aggressive defense of this litigation," the class counsels said. "In the face of this formidable opposition, lead counsel developed the case and successfully negotiated the settlement."

Robbins Geller was named class counsel in 2017 shortly after investors filed suit against OvaScience in March 2017 alleging the company "knowingly or recklessly misrepresented and concealed" facts about the effectiveness of its new fertility treatment Augment and led investors to believe the product worked.

OvaScience touted its Augment treatment as effective in December 2014, adding that it was in high demand and conservatively expected to be used by 1,000 commercial patients by the end of 2015, according to the suit.

The company's stock price reached a high of $55.69 in March 2015 when the company announced its first treatment results for Augment.

The investors countered in the suit that only 34 patients were represented in the data, too small of a sample size to back up the conclusion that Augment had a 53% success rate.

The company continued to say it was on track to sell 1,000 treatment cycles by the end of 2015, but in September 2015 it announced it had only sold a total of 35 cycles for the year and would not reach its goal because of merger and acquisition activities. OvaScience's share price fell by nearly 41% after the announcement.