March 15, 2006

Attorneys fees in Covington sex abuse case similar to other deals


Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Even though nearly a third of what he'll receive in a sex abuse settlement from the Catholic Church will go to his attorneys, Dr. Robert Loheide sees it as a bargain.
"It's worth all of it, every penny," Loheide said.
Loheide is one of 389 people taking part in an $85 million class-action settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington. The attorneys in the case have asked for 30 percent of the settlement - about $25.5 million - as their contingency fee for ending one of the larger sex abuse cases in the country.
Two law professors say the attorneys' fees in that settlement and many other class-action suits are above the national average.
New York University law professor Geoffrey Miller and Cornell University law professor Theodore Eisenberg researched 370 class-action settlements over a 10-year period.
They published a report stating that the 30 to 40 percent fees often cited as normal by attorneys isn't backed up by evidence. Instead, they concluded that attorneys fees on average are 21.9 percent of the settlement or jury award.
"Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests that one-third is the benchmark for privately negotiated contingent fees, but that significant variation up and occasional variation down exist as well," Eisenberg and Miller wrote.

Posted by kshaw at March 15, 2006 08:07 PM