on Ted Frank '94's Win 'In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation'

Excerpted from

On the surface, In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation doesn't seem like the kind of class action settlement that would get a thumbs-down from the Ninth Circuit.

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy and other plaintiffs firms submitted bills for more than $7 million in fees and expenses, but agreed with Hewlett-Packard Co. to accept $2.9 million. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, now the director of the Federal Judicial Center, appears to have conducted a thorough fairness hearing before reducing the fee award further, to $1.5 million.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sent the case back to district court Wednesday for one simple reason: The settlement compensated class members primarily with coupons, not cash. A divided Ninth Circuit ruled that under the 2005 Class Action Fairness Act, attorney fees for coupon relief must be based on the actual redemption value of the coupons, not their potentially inflated face value, as may have been the case with the HP settlement...

In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation is a clash of class action titans. The Cotchett firm is one of California's preeminent class action shops and was represented before the Ninth Circuit by name partner Niall McCarthy, a former president of Consumer Attorneys of California. Representing himself and another objector to the settlement was Ted Frank of Washington, D.C.'s Center for Class Action Fairness. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Peter Sullivan represented HP.

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