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Two Law Firms Split $22M in Attorney Fees in Libor Case

October 25, 2023 | Posted in : Class Incentive Awards, Expenses / Costs, Fee Allocation / Fee Apportionment, Fee Award, Fee Award Factors, Fee Request, Practice Area: Class Action / Mass Tort / MDL, Settlement Data / Terms

A recent Law 360 story by Emillie Ruscoe, “Susman Godfrey, Hausfeld Split $22M Fee in Libor Case”, reports that Susman Godfrey LLP and Hausfeld LLP will receive a nearly $22 million fee for brokering a $90 million settlement deal with MUFG Bank Ltd., the Norinchukin Bank and Société Générale in sprawling multidistrict litigation against numerous financial services giants over their alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate.  In an order, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald granted the two-firm legal team's requested fee and said they could also have more than $2.5 million to reimburse litigation expenses and that their five lead plaintiffs could each have a $100,000 service award.

The order comes after the plaintiffs' counsel in September requested a fee that would be a quarter of the $90 million settlement deal they had recently negotiated, minus litigation costs.  The latest settlement brings the action's "tremendous" recovery total to $781 million, according to the proposed class of those who had purchased Libor-based instruments from the allegedly involved banks during the period of the alleged rate manipulation.

Over the course of the litigation, which now dates back nearly 12 years, Barclays has settled the proposed class' claims for $120 million, Citibank for $130 million, HSBC for $100 million and Deutsche Bank for $240 million.  And, after the latest deal was reached, the plaintiff class reached a separate $101 million settlement that ends claims against Lloyds, Rabobank, RBC and Portigon, the plaintiffs said in their September fee bid.

The plaintiffs also said their requested interim fee award was comparable to awards in other multi-defendant antitrust class actions, and the percentage is the same as attorneys representing a separate plaintiff class received in other settlements.  The plaintiffs' counsel also said the requested fee would "fairly compensate class counsel for the excellent result they have obtained" on behalf of the proposed class.  The order awarding attorney fees was entered alongside a final judgment against the three settling banks.