On Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson awarded an additional $54.4 million to plaintiff’s counsel in the class action suit over air cargo shipping rates. With this new award, the attorney fees awarded in the antitrust case comes to a total of $92.9 million.
The money is for a cumulative 199,510 hours billed by 73 firms who worked on the case between December 2006 and December 2011. The lead plaintiff firms include Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, Labaton Sucharow, Hausfeld and Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman.
The lawsuit was filed in 2006 on behalf of companies who purchased air cargo freight shipping services from multiple airlines. The plaintiffs in the class action alleged that the airlines had created a global conspiracy to artificially inflate shipping prices.
Also on Thursday, Judge Gleeson approved $224.4 million in new settlement payments including the award for attorney fees. The total settlement amount to be paid in the class action by 17 airlines now comes to $485 million. The case is still going on against 11 other airlines and depending on the results, both plaintiffs and their lawyers may expect additional awards in settlement and fees.
In his order, Gleeson wrote, “”In megafund cases such as this one, courts typically decrease the percentage of the fee as the size of the fund increases to avoid an unjust windfall.” The co-lead class counsel from one of the plaintiffs’ law firms said that the orders of the court were “fair and sound” and based on both law and jurisdiction.
Judge Gleeson is also presiding over another critical antitrust class action – the one in which Visa and MasterCard have proposed a $7.2 billion settlement with retailers who alleged the card companies of colluding with banks to deny cheaper alternatives to customers and of overcharging.