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Ark. Teacher Ret. Sys. v. State St. Bank & Trust Co.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

February 27, 2020, Decided; February 27, 2020, Filed

C.A. No. 11-10230-MLW; C.A. No. 11-12049-MLW; C.A. No. 12-11698-MLW

Opinion

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

WOLF, D.J.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. SUMMARY

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

III. THE STANDARDS FOR AWARDING ATTORNEYS' FEES

IV. THE FACTS

A. The Approval of the Proposed Settlement

B. The Reports of Errors in the Fee Petitions

C. The Appointment of the Master

D. The Master's Investigation

E. The Report and Recommendations

F. Proceedings Following Submission of the Master's

Report and Recommendations

V. THE AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES

A. The Role of the Court

B. Megafund Cases

C. The Applicable Standards

D. Analysis of Certain Relevant Factors

E. Public Policy Considerations

i. The Duty of Candor

ii. Thornton, Labaton, and Lieff

F. An Award of $60,000,000 in Attorneys' [*7]  Fees is

Reasonable and Most Appropriate

G. Allocation of the Fee and Expense Award

H. Service Awards

VI. REFERRAL TO THE MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF BAR OVERSEERS

VII. IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

VIII. CONCLUSION

IX. ORDER

I. SUMMARY

In 1913, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that "[j]udges are apt to be naif, simple-minded men . . . ." Occasional Speeches of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes 172 (Howe ed. 1962). This case is a reminder that he was right.

Judges trust lawyers. They expect that lawyers will provide the court the accurate and complete information that is necessary to decide matters properly. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct make these expectations legal obligations.

For example, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b) provides that by presenting a pleading to a court an attorney is representing that he or she has made a reasonable inquiry and that all factual contentions are supported by evidence. This means, among other things, that an attorney who has signed a memorandum or sworn declaration that is submitted to the court represents that he or she has read the document and that the statements in it are true. In addition, Rule 11 requires that an [*8]  attorney not continue to advocate positions based on false statements after he or she learns they are not true. Similarly, Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 3.3(a) requires that an attorney not make a false statement to a court and that an attorney correct any such false statement when it is discovered to be untrue.

Judges also expect that complex class action cases conform to the paradigm prescribed by statutes, Supreme Court decisions, and other well-established jurisprudence. Although the instant consolidated cases are not subject to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ("PSLRA"), 15 U.S.C. §78u-4, the parties agree that its principles apply here too.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33552 *; 2020 WL 949885

ARKANSAS TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Defendant.ARNOLD HENRIQUEZ, MICHAEL T. COHN, WILLIAM R. TAYLOR, RICHARD A. SUTHERLAND, and those similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Defendant.THE ANDOVER COMPANIES EMPLOYEE SAVINGS AND PROFIT SHARING PLAN, on behalf of itself, and JAMES PEHOUSHEK-STANGELAND and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Defendant.

Prior History: Ark. Teacher Ret. Sys. v. State St. Bank, 232 F. Supp. 3d 189, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16545 (D. Mass., Feb. 6, 2017)

CORE TERMS

lodestar, attorney's fees, class action, settlement, declaration, cases, fee award, hourly rate, awards, common fund, staff attorney, misconduct, calculation, lawyers, memorandum, representations, recommended, plaintiffs', rates, appointed, expenses, regular rate, courts, attributed, multiplier, reliable, firms, lead counsel, paying, double-counting