Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Burke Law Offices are in line to split some $4.45 million in light of a proposed settlement of automatic phone call consumer protection claims against a Wells Fargo Bank NA unit.
The firms, which serve as co-lead counsel in the case, issued an announcement Monday about the $14.8 million class settlement, detailing the legal fees and costs they stand to collect if the settlement is finalized. The settlement received preliminary approval in Georgia federal court in February, and U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. in Atlanta has scheduled a final approval hearing for November.
The settlement aims to resolve allegations that Wells Fargo Dealer Services Inc. violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by contacting consumer cellphones using automatic dialing systems or a pre-recorded or artificial voice, without first securing consent from those consumers. The company was accused of using automated phone calls to plug automobile financing offers, according to court documents.
Wells Fargo denied the allegations and the court did not decide the merits of the case, according to Monday’s statement from the plaintiffs firms.
Plaintiffs lawyers have previously estimated that there may be as many as 3.4 million people in the settlement class, and that the payment from Wells Fargo was roughly equal to $4.65 per person. In Monday’s announcement, however, Burke and Lieff Cabraser said they expect the settlement to result in payments between $20 and $50 to class members who actually come forward and make a claim.
Alexander Burke of Chicago’s Burke Law Offices and Lieff Cabraser’s Jonathan Selbin and Daniel Hutchinson are among the lead lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side. A few other plaintiffs firms that did work on the case may get a portion of the fees. Troutman Sanders’ John Lynch and Stephen Riddell represent Wells Fargo. Neither Burke nor Selbin responded to a request for comment on Monday.
For Burke and Lieff Cabraser, the deal marks the latest class settlement in a TCPA case against Wells Fargo. In a separate case, also in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Richard Story granted final approval in February to a settlement of more than $30 million against the bank, which was accused of using automated calls or text messages related to overdrafts.
Burke and Lieff Cabraser both secured lead counsel roles in the overdraft TCPA case as well, along with a third plaintiffs firm, Greenwald Davidson Radbil. The judge in the case approved $9.13 million in fees and expenses for the plaintiffs lawyers in connection with that deal.
Scott Flaherty covers the business of law with a special focus on plaintiffs firms. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sflaherty18.