Lawyers Get $158 Million|in Cathode Ray Case

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A federal judge Wednesday awarded $158 million to attorneys representing indirect buyers in a 9-year-long class action on cathode ray tube price-fixing.
     A long list of plaintiffs sued Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic and others in 2007 for a 12-year conspiracy to corner the market for cathode ray tubes, used in TVs and other electronics.
     The attorneys requested $193 million: 33.3 percent of the $577 million settlement approved in July.
     U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar found that several factors justified reducing the award to $158 million: 27.5 percent of the settlement.
     Tigar also awarded $7.6 million in expenses to attorneys and $450,000 in incentives for named plaintiffs.
     The result achieved for the class is the most important factor in determining attorneys’ fees, Tigar wrote in his 20-page ruling.
     While $577 million is “a large sum of money,” Tigar said, it is only 20 percent of the $2.78 billion plaintiffs claimed to have been overcharged for products containing price-fixed tubes.
     Considering the complexity of the case, the performance of counsel and the risky nature of litigating a major class action, Tigar found it justified to approve slightly more than the Ninth Circuit’s benchmark of 25 percent of the settlement fund.
     Tigar used the lodestar method, a two-step process that involves multiplying billable hours by hourly rates and adjusting it based on case-specific factors.
     The class attorneys recorded 183,000 billable hours through May 2015, when the settlement was reached.
     Martin Quinn, special master to help oversee the settlement, found the class attorneys’ hourly rates of $350 to $875 were reasonable.
     Under the settlement, Chunghwa had to pay $10 million; LG Electronics $25 million; Philips electronics $175 million; Panasonic $70 million; Hitachi $28 million; Toshiba $30 million; Samsung $225 million; and Thomson $13.75 million.
     Two groups of class members who objected to the settlement appealed the settlement approval and attorneys’ fees to the Ninth Circuit on Thursday.
     Lead class counsel Mario Alioto, with Trump, Alioto, Trump and Prescott in San Francisco, did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.
     In January, Tigar approved a $38 million award for lawyers representing a class of direct purchaser plaintiffs in the antitrust case. That award was 30 percent of a $127 million settlement.

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