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In re Cendant Corp. PRIDES Litigation

243 F.3d 722 (2001)

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In re Cendant Corp. PRIDES Litigation

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

243 F.3d 722 (2001)

Facts

Cendant Corporation (Cendant) (defendant) admitted liability for conduct that reduced the value of certain shares. The law firm of Kirby, McInerney & Squire (Kirby) sued Cendant on behalf of a class of investors (plaintiffs). The case settled within nine months, with Kirby filing three motions. The settlement gave the investors $314 million in rights that could be exchanged for correctly valued shares. Kirby asked the court to award it attorney’s fees of 10 percent of that amount, or $31.4 million. Kirby had worked 5,600 hours on the case, and the average hourly rate for a Kirby partner was $495, for a maximum amount of $2.77 million in hourly fees. Without much explanation, the district court awarded Kirby 5.7 percent of the total recovery, or approximately $19.3 million. This award was seven times the amount of Kirby’s maximum hourly fees. Under the settlement’s structure, reducing the attorney-fee award would not increase a class member’s recovery. An objecting class member appealed the attorney-fee award.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Garth, J.)

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