Chris Seeger, one of the lawyers leading class counsel in the NFL concussion litigation settlement has made a $70 million fee request on behalf of his firm, Seeger Weiss, which he outlined Tuesday in a 22-page declaration to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In the declaration, requested by the court to inform its upcoming disbursement of $114 million in attorney fees and costs, Seeger detailed the work his firm, along with 26 other firms and a law professor, put in toward negotiating and implementing the $1 billion settlement aimed at compensating roughly 20,000 football players who suffered concussion-related injuries while playing for the National Football League.
The filing and an emailed statement from Seeger stressed it is up to U.S. District Judge Anita Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to make the final award and allocation decisions.
“We believe this allocation is reasonable and well within the precedent set in similar cases,” Seeger said in a statement. “Judge Brody will ultimately determine the final allocation, and we appreciate her consideration of this matter.”
In asking for $70.4 million, Seeger Weiss would receive the lion’s share of the money designated to compensate class counsel in the contentious litigation, which has seen an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court as well as lingering concerns over third-party litigation funders. The money, according to the request, would compensate Seeger Weiss for a total of 21,044 hours his firm spent on the litigation since he was appointed to represent the class in 2012.
Among other things, the petition touted the work the firm did negotiating the settlement, setting up the claims process, vetting physicians and individuals who assess the players seeking compensation, getting the word out about the settlement, fielding calls from class members and working to “combat the dissemination of misinformation” related to third-party funders and companies allegedly seeking to help claimants through the process for an exorbitant fee.
“ Seeger Weiss propounded written discovery requests, met and conferred with respondents’ counsel, received and reviewed documents and information, conducted depositions, and filed motions to compel against those persons and entities refusing to comply with discovery requests,” Seeger said in the filing. “Several of these entities have mounted a spirited defense against these efforts.”
The firm looking to receive the second-highest award under Seeger’s proposal would be the Philadelphia firm Levin Sedran & Berman, which, according to the filing, should receive $10.3 million for nearly 5,000 hours spent on the case. Miami-based Podhurst Orseck would also receive $6.7 million under the proposal and Anapol Weiss, which is home to Sol Weiss, Seeger’s co-lead class counsel, should receive $4.6 million, according to the request.
As part of the settlement, the NFL has contributed $112.5 million to be used for attorney fees, and added to that is an additional $1.3 million left over from funds used to promote the settlement, as well as more than $338,000 in interest.
With eight Pennsylvania firms involved in the litigation, the request allocates more than $21 million for firms located in the Keystone state.
The filing includes a request that the three class representatives each receive $100,000.
Max Mitchell can be contacted at 215-557-2354 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMitchellTLI.