For any class action plaintiffs lawyer, in any hard-fought case, securing a $50 million fee award is a big deal. But Robert Abrams of Baker & Hostetler, a litigator with defense-side gravitas who chairs the firm’s antitrust group, isn’t your average class action plaintiffs lawyer. And the litigation he spearheaded for a group of southeast U.S. dairy farmers isn’t your average case–not for Abrams, his firm, or the Chapter 11 trustee and creditors of defunct Howrey LLP. We reported last month that a federal judge in Tennessee had finally approved a pair of class settlements worth $145 million in the dairy farmers’ case, including a $140 million deal to resolve claims that Dean Foods Co. conspired to fix prices for raw milk. On July 11, the judge granted Abrams’ motion for $48.3 million in attorneys fees and $7.4 million in expenses for class counsel, citing the lawyers’ “exceptional” work and the results they achieved for the farmers. Wednesday’s 11-page decision by U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer held particular significance for Abrams, and not just because the judge granted the full amount of fees and expenses he was seeking.
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