LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge awarded $287,000 in fees to attorneys for a class who settled with Los Angeles Clippers over text message solicitations.
Lead plaintiff Ari Friedman attended a Clippers basketball game on Sept, 11, 2012. During the game, he sent a text message to a number that was broadcast by the home sports announcer, so he could have his personal message displayed on the scoreboard.
In the following days, Friedman received text messages on his cell phone from an automated dialing system, though he never gave consent for such messages.
Friedman filed a class action on behalf of 130,000 people who attended Clippers basketball games, claiming that the LAC Basketball Club, which owns and operates the NBA team, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending the messages.
The parties reached a settlement under which LAC Basketball Club agreed to compensate class members with either two vouchers to Clippers’ basketball games or one voucher to a Clippers’ game and one $20 coupon to purchase merchandise at the Clippers’ store.
Based on each ticket having a face value of $15 to $20, the total benefit for each class member was valued at approximately $40. A total of 751 people made valid claims, making the total redeemed value for class members $30,040.
Class counsel is entitled to 25 percent of this redemption value as an attorney fee, or $7,510.
Additionally, LAC Basketball Club agreed not to send any “non-confirmatory” autodialed text messages to fans’ cell phones for 24 months. Class counsel is entitled to fees for obtaining this injunctive relief.
Counsel submitted billing records for 438.7 hours spent on the case, which U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall found reasonable. Based on the hourly rates of the attorneys and paralegals, the lodestar amount for the injunctive relief is $185,841.
Although class counsel requested a multiplier of 3.228 for a total fee of more than $599,900, Marshall determined that a more modest multiplier was appropriate, finding that the injunctive relief was not an “exceptional” benefit to the class to justify that sort of enhancement.
A 1.5 multiplier to represent the risk counsel took in taking on the case is more appropriate, Marshall said, resulting in a total lodestar of $278,761.
Adding in the coupon relief award, class counsel is entitled to $287,486 in fees.
Friedman is also entitled to a $1,000 incentive fee for serving as the class representative.
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