Edwards v. National Milk Producers Federation

Case # 11-cv-04766
Case Name Edwards v. National Milk Producers Federation
Jurisdiction US District Court for N.D. CA
Summary

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants utilized anti-competative practices to artificially drive up the costs of raw milk and other products derived from the same.  These practices included enhanced voluntary herd retirements, wherein dairy farmers eliminate their herds and agree not to produce milk for a set period of time, in exchange for compensation.  This practice drives down the number of productive cattle and, by decreasing supply, increases prices for consumers.

Final Approval Date 06/26/2017
Result
  1. Final Approval granted.
  2. The Court overruled all objections, "except to the extent that they generally object to the request for attorneys’ fees of one third of the settlement fund as too high" (Order Overruling Objections at 1:24-25).
  3. The Court reduced the Attorneys' Fee Request from a benchmark of 33.3% to a benchmark of 25%, returning $4,333,333 to the Class.
  4. Objectors Holyoak and O'Brian jointly motioned for $70,000 in attorneys' fees apiece, to be paid from Class Counsel's fee award.  In addition, Objector O'Brian also motioned for $1,432.03 in expenses and an incentive award of $5,000.
  5. The Court GRANTED fees for Objector Holyoak of $70,000, fees for Objector O'Brian of $29,911.40 (lodestar with no multiplier), expenses for Objector O'Brian of $1,432.03, and an incentive award for Objector O'Brian of $250.  These awards were paid out of the administrative costs portion of the settlement.
  6. Objector Erwin separately motioned for attorneys' fees of $649,999.95 and an incentive award of $5,000.  This motion was subsequently withdrawn.
  7. Objectors Erwin, Andrews, and Sweeney appealed the Final Approval.
  8. Objector-Appellant Andrews motioned to proceed in forma pauperis, which was opposed by Class Counsel.
  9. The District Court denied Objector-Appellant Andrews' in forma pauperis  motion.
  10. Class Counsel motioned for an appeal bond of $1,000 each from Objector-Appellants Erwin, Andrews, and Sweeney.
  11. Objector-Appellant Erwin voluntarily dismissed his appeal before the Court could rule on the appeal bond.
  12. The Court granted the $1,000 appeal bond from Objector-Appellants Andrews and Sweeney.
  13. Objector-Appellant Sweeney voluntarily dismissed her appeal without posting the appeal bond.
  14. Objector-Appellant Andrews appealed this order, which was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
  15. The Appellate Court granted Objector-Appellant Andrews' in forma pauperis motion, finding that the appeal raised non-frivolous arguments.
  16. The Andrews appeal is ongoing.
Dismissal of Last Appeal ongoing
Attachments Docket Report.pdf
First Amended Class Action Complaint.pdf
Preliminary Approval Order.pdf
Consolidated Response to Objections.pdf
Fairness Hearing Transcript.pdf
Order Overruling Objections and Granting Attorneys Fees.pdf
Final Approval Order.pdf
Plaintiffs' Response to Objectors' Motion for Fees.pdf
Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector-Appellants Andrews, Erwin, and Sweeney.pdf
Order Granting in Part Motion for Fees, Denying Motion for IFP, and Granting Appeal Bond.pdf
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Objection of Joshua D. Holyoak

Objectors Joshua D. Holyoak
Signers Eric M. Lightman
Attorneys Eric M. Lightman
Anna St. John
Summary
  1. Attorneys' fees are improperly calculated.
    • Actual percentage of the settlement going to fees is over 39%, which should be considered excessive.
  2. Class definition does not include a definitive end date, depriving certain class members of their Rule 23 rights.
Attachments Objection of Joshua D. Holyoak.pdf
Motion to File Declaration of Theodore Frank.pdf
Motion by Objector Holyoak for Sanctions.pdf
Order Granting Motion to File Frank Declaration and Granting in Part Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Response to Order Granting Motion to File Frank Declaration and Granting in Part Motion fo.pdf
Joint Motion for Attorneys' Fees by Objectors Holyoak and O'Brian.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Fees by Objectors Holyoak and O'Brian.pdf
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Objection of Christopher Andrews

Objectors Christopher Andrews
Signers Christopher Andrews
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Notice does not include crucial information for class members to assess the fairness of the settlement.
  2. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.
Attachments Objection of Christopher Andrews.pdf
Excerpts from Andrews Deposition.pdf
Appeal of Objector Andrews.pdf
Andrews Opposition to Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector-Appellant Andrews.pdf
Andrews Response to Reply in Support of Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector-Appellant Andrews.pdf
Supplement to Andrews Response to Reply in Support of Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Second Appeal of Objector Andrews.pdf
Order Dismissing Second Andrews Appeal for Lack of Jurisdiction.pdf
Order Granting Andrews Motion for IFP.pdf
Andrews Appeal Docket.pdf
Second Andrews Appeal Docket.pdf
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Objection of Ira Connor Erwin

Objectors Ira Connor Erwin
Signers Timothy R. Hanigan
Attorneys Timothy R. Hanigan
Christopher A. Bandas
Robert W. Clore
Summary
  1. Settlement under-compensates class members for their damages.
  2. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
    • Lodestar multiplier is excessive.
Attachments Objection of Ira Conner Erwin.pdf
Erwin Reply to Consolidated Response to Objections.pdf
Motion for Attorneys' Fees by Objector Erwin.pdf
Withdrawal of Motion for Attorneys' Fees by Objector Erwin.pdf
Appeal of Objector Erwin.pdf
Bandas Appearance for Objector-Appellant Erwin.pdf
Clore Appearance for Objector-Appellant Erwin.pdf
Erwin Response to Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector-Appellants Erwin and Sweeney.pdf
Dismissal of Erwin Appeal.pdf
Erwin Appeal Docket.pdf
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Objection of Pamela Sweeney

Objectors Pamela Sweeney
Signers Pamela Sweeney
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Claims administration does not have adequate oversight.
  2. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.
Attachments Objection of Pamela Sweeney.pdf
Appeal of Objector Sweeney.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector-Appellants Erwin and Sweeney.pdf
Dismissal of Sweeney Appeal.pdf
Sweeney Appeal Docket.pdf
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Objection of Tony O'Brian

Objectors Tony O'Brian
Signers Sam A. Miorelli
Attorneys Sam A. Miorelli
Grant F. Atkinson
Summary
  1. Subclasses lack adequate representation.
  2. Disclosures by class counsel lack necessary transparency for class members to evaluate the settlement.
  3. Release is overbroad.
  4. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
Attachments Objection of Tony O'Brian.pdf
Joint Motion for Attorneys' Fees by Objectors Holyoak and O'Brian.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Fees by Objectors Holyoak and O'Brian.pdf
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