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JUDGE SLASHES LEGAL FEES IN PAXIL CASE PHILADELPHIA — In the world of mega class actions, it hardly raises an eyebrow if the lawyers who secure a $100 million settlement walk away with 30 percent of the fund, or $30 million. But when Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge John Padova took a close look at just such a fee request in a class action antitrust suit over the pricing of the anti-depressant drug Paxil, he concluded that the lawyers were simply asking for too much in light of the relatively small number of hours they had logged on the case. If the lawyers were paid the full amount they requested, Padova said, they would end up earning more than 23 times their ordinary hourly billing rates for the 4,239 hours they worked. After surveying fee awards in other mega class actions, Padova concluded that a “multiplier” of 23.59 is “unprecedented,” and that most fees resulted in a multiplier in the single digits. Padova’s decision was the result of a so-called “lodestar cross-check.” Having concluded that a multiplier of more than 23 was too high, Padova was forced to decide on his own what a reasonable fee would be. As a result, Padova cut the request by one-third and awarded the lawyers $20 million, noting that it still resulted in a multiplier of more than 15. — Legal Intelligencer

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