- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

Want to know how much the attorneys who sued Boston Chicken charged their clients for legal fees? Or how many hours they logged on the case?

Lawyers, judges and academics scouring the nation’s judicial systems for attorney fee information in class-action lawsuits now have a single source of reference.

Published for the first time this month, the Class Action Attorney Fee Digest is a monthly periodical devoted to compiling attorney fee statistics from state and federal cases.

Editor-in-Chief Stuart J. Logan and Managing Editor Phoebe Schlanger organize fee data by case, type of lawsuit and jurisdiction. Their first issue featured class-action award information from 24 federal courts and 13 state courts, involving antitrust, civil rights, consumer, employment and securities complaints.

For each case, Class Action Attorney Fee Digest includes an abstract that lists plaintiffs’ claims, settlement benefits, attorneys’ fees, fees as a percentage of the total award, expenses, hours and the court’s reasoning, when provided, in the fee order.

In the Boston Chicken case, for example, the lead plaintiff, the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, accused the food company of misleading the public about its business and future prospects. A U.S. court in Denver awarded plaintiffs in the securities class action a $23.6 million settlement, according to the digest. The lawyers clocked 14,614 hours and charged their clients $6.5 million, or nearly 27 percent of the total award.

“There’s really no one place to find this information, or at least there wasn’t before,” said Mr. Logan, who spent 20 years at Class Action Reports before starting the digest, which is published by Octagon Publishing Inc. in the District.

A yearly subscription to the digest goes for $1,800 and is particularly helpful to small law firms that do not have the time to spend digging up case information online or calling state courts across the country to find it, he said.

The publication is objective, containing no editorial comment aside from the case abstract and fee statistics.

Mr. Logan said the niche topic of class-action attorney fees is important not only to lawyers determining pay rates but also to judges who cite outcomes of other cases when issuing awards.

“Our objective is to become the definitive source for all types of class-action attorney fee information,” he said.

The American Tort Reform Association, a group that seeks to minimize class-action awards, and the American Association for Justice, a trial lawyer organization, did not respond to requests for comment.

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