The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK
This matter is before the Court on the Joint Fee Petition submitted by counsel for the plaintiffs and the Class in the above-captioned case. Plaintiffs' class counsel's efforts have resulted in the establishment of a $ 110,000,000 fund for the benefit of the Class.
On November 17, 1995, after notice to the Class and other interested persons, this Court held a fairness hearing on the proposed Stipulation and Agreement of Partial Compromise and Settlement dated August 9, 1995 (the "Settlement") and the Amended Plan of Allocation dated September 8, 1995 (the "Plan of Allocation") and on the Joint Fee Petition of plaintiffs' class counsel.
On November 20, 1995 this Court entered Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law with respect to the Settlement and the Amended Plan of Allocation. On November 20, 1995 this Court also entered an Order and Final Judgment approving the Settlement relative to plaintiffs' and the Class's claims against the PSI (Prudential Securities Incorporated) Settling Defendants,
and an Order and Final Judgment Approving the Amended Plan of Allocation.
In the Joint Fee Petition, plaintiffs' class counsel
request attorneys' fees in the amount of $ 32,120,000, together with interest thereon at the same rate as that received by the settlement fund on deposit with the Court from the date of deposit until the date of payment. Plaintiffs' counsel also requested reimbursement of the out-of-pocket disbursements in the amount of $ 1,921,332.29, together with interest thereon at the same rate as that received by the settlement fund on deposit with the Court from the date of deposit until the date of payment. By reason of the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth below, the Joint Petitioners' request for fees and disbursements is GRANTED, but only to the limit set forth hereafter.
Also before the Court at the November 17, 1995 hearing was an application for fees and expenses by the firm of Carlos Lidsky, Attorney At Law, P.A. Mr. Lidsky represented class member Anne Danziger, individually and as the personal representative of the Estate of Fanny Rottenberg, in an individual Florida action which was transferred to this Court as a related action by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which action will be resolved as against the PSI Settling Defendants by the Settlement. Plaintiffs' class counsel initially objected to this fee request, but after Mr. Lidsky agreed at the hearing to reduce his firm's fee request to $ 25,000. plaintiffs' class counsel withdrew their objection. The Court requested Mr. Lidsky to submit a supplemental affidavit to justify the payment of the $ 25,000. requested fee and expense amount. An additional sufficient submission was served and filed by Mr. Lidsky on or about November 22, 1995. The application for fees and expenses by the firm of Carlos Lidsky, Attorney At Law, P.A. in the amount of $ 25,000 is accordingly GRANTED, and such sum is to be paid out of the award of fees and expenses to plaintiffs' class counsel on the Joint Petition.
A separate application filed by the firm of Miller Milove & Kob for Attorneys' fees, costs and expenses will be addressed in separate Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. For the reasons appearing therein, the said application is in all respects DENIED.
An application for fees by Mills, Mills, Fily & Lucas was withdrawn at the hearing and is in any event DENIED.
The firm of Hoadley & Noska, P.A. also filed a petition for fees and expenses, but its representative, Thomas A. Hoadley, left the hearing without presenting any sufficient support justifying his firm's application. Upon examination of the petition, the Court finds the application to be entirely unsubstantiated and lacking in merit as a claim against the Settlement Fund and it is entirely DENIED.
After more than three years of litigation in various constituent actions and related state court proceedings, the plaintiffs' class counsel in this Multidistrict class action have reached an outstanding partial settlement resulting in a $ 110,000,000. recovery from the Settling Defendants. (The settlement is referred to as a partial one since not all of the named defendants are included among those who are Settling Defendants). Plaintiffs' class counsel are entitled to a reasonable fee to be paid out of the common fund which they created by this partial settlement.
Plaintiffs' class counsel undertook this complex and difficult litigation on a contingent basis. Not only was success and payment for counsels' efforts uncertain from the beginning of the Constituent Actions, but also the risks increased as the case progressed and PSI reached a separate settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") of claims arising out of many of the same wrongful acts alleged by plaintiffs. Against increasing odds, plaintiffs succeeded in reaching an important and excellent additional settlement with the PSI Settling Defendants.
The Class Members have responded favorably to the settlement herein. Reports from the Claims Administrator retained by the Executive Committee of plaintiffs' counsel indicate that as of the date of the Settlement fairness hearing over 58,000 proofs of claim had already been filed by members of the Class for consideration under the terms of this Settlement.
The record demonstrates that, in litigating the consolidated actions to this point and bringing about the partial settlement, the substantial number of plaintiffs' class counsel have performed 81,280.35 hours of, as yet, uncompensated work, which they value -- at their current, ordinary, non-contingent billing rates for the attorneys and other professionals who performed the work -- ...