The Association of U S West Retirees



Business Briefs
Qwest retirees' lawyers set fees at 24% of settlement

Denver Post
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Lawyers for a group of Qwest investors who reached a $400 million settlement with the company in November in an accounting-fraud class-action suit are seeking $98.2 million in fees and expenses.

In court filings Monday, the lawyers -- which include Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins in San Diego and Dyer & Shuman in Denver -- asked for 24 percent, or $96 million, in fees and $2.2 million in expenses.

They said the number, which was negotiated with the lead plaintiffs, is within range of what the court has approved in other class actions and that it is deserved in light of the risks and efforts they undertook in the 4 1/2-year-old case.

Lead plaintiffs in the case, including the New England Health Care Employees Pension Fund, filed papers supporting the compensation. But at least one group representing shareholders complained Tuesday, calling it excessive.

"Once you get much above 20 percent for total fees and expenses, then you're starting to cross the line," said Nelson Phelps, executive director of the Association of US West Retirees.  "How much are you going to give to the investors and those who have been injured as opposed to those who went to work for them?"

Phelps did not say if the association would formally object to the attorney fees and expenses.