• August 15, 2011

Arbitration is supposed to be like going to court — a neutral arbiter is supposed to decide disputes — but much cheaper and quicker than U.S. civil litigation (which includes costly “bells and whistles” like juries, evidentiary rules, due process, and so on).

In a large consumer class action before the U.S. District Court (D. Minn.) (Magnuson, Sr. Judge), however, plaintiffs alleged that the National Arbitration Forum was anything but a “neutral arbiter.”  Plaintiffs alleged that the NAF was an industry shill, a fix in favor of credit-card companies and retailers, a kangaroo court (an American expression for a sham court proceeding, incidentally, not Australian), into which credit card companies and retailers herded unwitting American consumers.

Minnesota Litigator covered plaintiffs’ early wins in this lawsuit over a year ago.  Roughly 11,000 plaintiffs’ lawyers hours later (that’s 1,375 eight-hour days), the Court has approved the case’s settlement and awarded plaintiffs’ counsel $2.9 million. 

Plaintiffs’ “Lead Counsel Committee” was composed of:

Brian M. Clark,
Charles S. Zimmerman,
Daniel E. Gustafson,
David M. Cialkowski,
Dianne M. Nast,
Elizabeth J. Cabraser,
Joseph F. Devereux , Jr.,
Kenneth A. Wexler,
Leonard V. Fodera,
Michael J. Brickman,
Peter Safirstein, and
Robert K. Shelquist.

It is up to this crowd, presumably, to figure out how to distribute the attorneys’ fees part of the class action settlement among the sizeable army of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

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