As reported by Andrew Longstreth in an April 4, 2013 post at Thomson Reuters News & Insight, N.D. Cal. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston awarded dozens of plaintiffs’ law firms $310 million in attorney’s fees in a long-running antitrust price-fixing case where over $1 billion in settlements were obtained in a dispute over thin-film liquid-crystal display panels used in a range of electronic products (including laptops and TVs).
In In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litig., N.D.Cal. Case No. 07-md-01827, District Judge Illston adopted the recommendations of a special master, not uncommon in these type of cases. Co-lead counsel objected to the special master’s fee recommendations, arguing it had an agreement with the other co-lead counsel to divide the fees differently. The special master found the objecting co-lead counsel had not met its burden on the issue, with District Judge Illston agreeing and also determining that the alleged agreement was unenforceable, also, because the fee-sharing agreement was not in writing and signed by the clients under federal/California law.