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Judge Cuts Fees For Plaintiffs’ Lawyers In LivingSocial Settlement

livingsocialU.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle slashed attorney fees in half for plaintiff’s lawyers in the multi-district litigation against LivingSocial, citing inefficient staffing and high hourly rates.

A March 22 decision approved a settlement between customers and the daily deal site over an expired deal. Instead of the $3 million the plaintiffs asked for, Huvelle awarded $1.35 million in fees to over ten law firms that represented them.

LivingSocial spokesman Andrew Weinstein said in a statement that the company was “pleased to have brought this litigation to a conclusion, so we can focus all of our efforts on creating great local experiences for our customers.” The daily deal company was represented by a team from Cooley; lead attorneys were Michael Rhodes and Christopher Durbin.

In 2011, LivingSocial received a number of class action lawsuits regarding expired deals that customers purchased through the site. The plaintiffs stated that the offers limited expiration dates violated the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, as well as state laws regulating gift certificates.

In response, LivingSocial denied that its daily deals were gift certificates and if they were, they did comply with state and federal laws.

According to the LegalTimes, Class actions filed in D.C., California, Florida, Washington and Minnesota federal courts were consolidated as multi-district litigation in D.C. in August 2011 and settlement talks started soon after, according to filings. Huvelle preliminarily approved the settlement in October.

The Settlement stated LivingSocial made an agreement to establish a $4.5 million fund to reimburse customers whose deal expired before they were used. The class included around 10.9 million customers who purchased deals between 2009 and 2012. In addition, any left over funds would be donated to the Consumers Union and National Consumers League.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers asked for $3 million in fees, an amount that LivingSocial agreed not to contest. Huvelle wrote that although the four formal objections to the settlement agreement were “largely meritless,” she agreed with complaints about the size of the fee request.

Source: LegalTimes

DDM

Daily Deal Media covers the growing power of social buying generally called “Daily Deals”. With the explosion of companies like groupon, livingsocial and many others, the way consumers purchase online may have been altered forever. Which companies will emerge as front runners in this space, and who are some of the executives behind them? Which investors stand to gain the most, and which companies have they backed? Daily Deal Media helps you keep up with this fast pace industry, and provides valuable insight, resources, industry reports, forums and more.
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