Qwest retirees' lawyers set fees at 24% of settlement
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
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.