Civil Plaintiff

$14.4M Settlement Tossed in Whirlpool ‘Coupon’ Lawsuit

(Reuters) – A new decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, vacating a $14.8 million fee award to class counsel in a case alleging that Whirlpool dishwashers were prone to overheat, seems likely to discourage plaintiffs’ lawyers from agreeing to settlements in which a big chunk of the relief can be characterized as a coupon.

Under the settlement agreement at the heart of the 9th Circuit case, class counsel’s fees were to be paid directly by Whirlpool rather than coming from the class recovery. But the two sides could not agree on an amount. The company and plaintiffs’ lawyers had widely divergent views on the value of the settlement, which included cash payments to dishwasher owners who had to repair or replace their appliances as well as rebates discounting the price of future dishwasher purchases. Plaintiffs’ lawyers from Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-SmithRifkind Weiner LivingstonLieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Cohon and Weinstein Kitchenoff & Asher claimed the entire deal was worth as much as $116.7 million to the class. Whirlpool said that the actual class recovery would be more like $4.2 million, based on the 3.7% claims rate and deficient documentation by most of the owners seeking a cash payout.

Read the source article at reuters.com

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