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In re Thirteen Appeals Arising Out of the San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litigation

56 F.3d 295 (1995)

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In re Thirteen Appeals Arising Out of the San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litigation

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

56 F.3d 295 (1995)

Facts

After a fire destroyed the San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel, more than 270 tort cases were consolidated in a common-fund case. The district court assigned certain attorneys to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC). The PSC managed the big picture, while the individually retained plaintiffs’ attorneys (IRPAs) handled client communication and all damages issues. After the cases settled for a combined total of $220 million, the district court designated $68 million for attorney’s fees. The district court apportioned the $68 million between the PSC and the IRPAs using the lodestar method, and a group of attorneys from both groups appealed. The First Circuit held that the allocation was flawed and reversed. On remand, the district court used the percentage-of-fund method and awarded 70 percent to the PSC and 30 percent to the IRPAs. A group of IRPAs filed a second appeal and argued that the district abused its discretion because the lodestar method should have been used.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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