We’ve spilled barrels of virtual ink documenting Manhattan federal district court Judge Jed Rakoff’s problems with the SEC’s proposed $33 million settlement with Bank of America in the Merrill Lynch bonuses flap. (In case you’ve been hiding under a rock on Martha’s Vineyard, see here, here and here for our most recent coverage.) But lest you think that Rakoff is allergic to all deals involving BofA, we’re pleased to tell you that he has granted preliminary approval to the settlement of a securities class action BofA inherited when it acquired Merrill Lynch. The bank has agreed to pay $150 million to former Merrill Lynch investors who accused the erstwhile company of misleading them in connection with the sale of bonds and preferred stock. Here’s Rakoff’s order, and here’s The New York Times‘s story about the settlement.
In the past we’ve also noticed that Rakoff is not a fan of certain plaintiffs lawyers’ practices, but in this settlement he awarded co-lead counsel Keller Rohrback and Cohen Milstein & Toll a handsome $18.75 million in attorneys’ fees. (The two firms asked for pie-in-the-sky fees “not to exceed 27.5 percent” of the gross settlement fund, which would have been closer to $40 million; Rakoff gave them 12.5 percent.)
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