The opinion of the court was delivered by: BONSAL
Following the settlement of this antitrust class action, the Court received two petitions for allowances of attorneys' fees and disbursements as follows:
1) Petition of Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin; Pomerantz Levy Haudek & Block; David Berger, P.A.; and Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, counsel for plaintiffs-class representatives in these consolidated class actions (hereinafter referred to as "petitioners"), seeking an allowance of attorneys' fees in the amount of $2,300,000 together with reimbursement of expenses and costs of paralegal services in the amount of $92,407.93;
2) Petition of Cochrane & Bresnahan, St. Paul, Minnesota, and associate counsel (hereinafter referred to as "Cochrane"), seeking an allowance of attorneys' fees in the amount of $485,000 and reimbursement of expenses in the amount of $10,809.79.
Briefs objecting to these attorneys' fees have been filed on behalf of Burlington Industries, Inc., which claims an 11% interest in the distributable settlement fund, and on behalf of Springs Mills, Inc. and other mills which are members of the settlement class claiming a 17.8% share in the distributable settlement fund. A public hearing was held on October 22, 1976 to consider the plan of distribution of the settlement funds and the petitions for attorneys' fees and disbursements.
On July 18, 1974, an indictment was filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey charging the defendants herein with having criminally conspired to fix and maintain, at artificially high levels, the prices of various dyestuffs and related products in violation of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1). Subsequently, each of the defendants pled nolo contendere. The United States also instituted a civil action, naming the same defendants, seeking only injunctive relief.
On September 4, 1974, this action was commenced by the petitioners' filing of a complaint on behalf of Dorey Corporation and others. (Civil Action No. 74 Civ. 3826) (the "Dorey Complaint"). An additional plaintiff, Calina Industries, Inc., also represented by petitioners, filed a separate action on September 5, 1974 (74 Civ. 3842). On October 31, 1974 the Dorey and Calina actions were consolidated.
On December 27, 1974, a class action was instituted in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota which action was substantially identical to the Dorey action. Another action was instituted in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of Lorber Industries and four other named plaintiffs. Both of these actions were eventually transferred to this district and consolidated with Dorey.
Following some limited pretrial discovery, settlement negotiations were entered into and a stipulation of settlement and compromise was signed on April 28, 1975. By Order dated April 30, 1975, this Court directed that notice of the proposed settlement be mailed to each class member identified by defendants' records. A hearing was held on September 2, 1975 to determine the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the proposed settlement and, in a Memorandum decision filed October 22, 1975, as amended by Order filed November 5, 1975, this Court approved the settlement pursuant to Rule 23(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Jurisdiction was retained for the purposes of passing on attorneys' fees and expenses and any issues arising out of the administration of the settlement. Dorey Corp. et al. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, et al., CCH TRADE REPORTS P 60,576 (S.D.N.Y. 1975).
The settlement established a fund of $15,000,000 on which interest has been accruing, so that at the present time the settlement fund is in excess of $16,700,000. The plan of distribution was filed with the Court on September 17, 1976 and it is estimated therein that the members of the plaintiff class will recover over 55% of the damages sustained as a result of the alleged price fixing by the defendants. The plan of distribution, as amended, was approved by the Court at a hearing on October 22, 1976.
After the fixing of attorneys' fees, and barring appeals, it is expected that the settlement fund will be promptly distributed to the plaintiff class.
Services Rendered by Petitioners
Immediately after the filing of the Dorey Complaint, petitioners sought to intervene in the New Jersey criminal action by requesting the trial judge to refuse any nolo pleas and to have the Grand Jury documents impounded for ...