Brushing aside an 1891 precedent, the New York Court of Appeals on Thursday said lawyers who successfully challenge class counsel fees on behalf of individual plaintiffs are not entitled to reimbursement for their fees.

The majority in a 5-2 decision held that “comprehensive” 1975 reforms to class actions in New York by the state Legislature authorized payment of fees only to the “representatives of the class” and not the “award of counsel fees to any party, individual or counsel, other than class counsel.”

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