Nilsen v. York County
United States District Court for the District of Maine
400 F. Supp. 2d 266 (2005)
Nilsen (plaintiff) filed a class-action lawsuit against York County (defendant) on behalf of all arrestees at York County Jail who were strip-searched without reasonable suspicion. Pursuant to a voluntary settlement, York County was required to establish a common fund of $3.3 million to discharge all of its liabilities. The settlement provided that the fund would be distributed to class members after deductions of costs and attorneys’ fees. Prior to the case becoming a class action, Nilsen had agreed to a one-third contingency fee for her lawyer. The class’s lawyers requested that the court award them 30 percent of the fund, or $990,000. Based on the lodestar method of calculating attorneys’ fees, the class’s lawyers would have received $520,000.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hornby, J.)
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