Birchmeier v. Caribbean Cruise Line

Case # 12-cv-04069
Case Name Birchmeier v. Caribbean Cruise Line
Jurisdiction US District Court for N.D. IL
Summary

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants made robocalls to cellular and landline telephones, purporting to be a political polling firm.  However, the survey offered on behalf of a non-existent polling organization was merely a pretext for a marketing call on behalf of Caribbean Cruise Lines and a time share company.  These calls were made in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Final Approval Date 03/02/2017
Result
  1. The District Court expressed skepticism of the intentions of Objector Freedom Home Care, noting that they had filed objections to the fee petition before the Defendants and had seemingly made obvious arguments, with the likely goal of then requesting fees should the fee award be reduced. 
    • It was pretty predictable -- in fact, not pretty predictable. It was 100 percent predictable that the defendants were going to object to the fee amount...and the fairly obvious objection that anybody in this situation would make is the one that you made and that they ended up making...and that you filed yours first because that would give you a better argument later on that, oh, well, I'm entitled to some money if you end up cutting fees. (Transcript of Fairness Hearing (Part 1) at 34:11-21)
  2. When Attorney Robert W. Clore, for Freedom Home Care, could not answer whether they would request fees, the Court insisted Christopher Bandas appear in person to answer.  (See Transcript of Fairness Hearing (Part 1) at 35:21-39:21)
  3. Upon appearing, Christopher Bandas confirmed that he was intending on requesting a fee award if the Plaintiffs' fee award was reduced.  (See Transcript of Fairness Hearing (Part 2), 4:21-5:8)
  4. Final Approval granted.  The District Court did reduce the Plaintiff's fee request, in response to the objections of Defendants and Freedom Home Care.
  5. Freedom Home Care motioned for $59,410 in fees and an incentive award of $1,000.
  6. Despite arguing that their objection improved the settlement enough to warrant a fee award, Objector Freedom Home Care still appealed the Final Approval.
  7. Plaintiffs motioned for, and were granted, an appeal bond of $5,000.
  8. The Court denied Objector Freedom Home Care's motion for fees, arguing that they had not materially improved the settlement.
  9. Objector Freedom Home Care then appealed the decision to deny fees.
  10. The Appellate Court affirmed the lower court's decision, finding that the Plaintiff's fees were properly awarded and that Objector Freedom Home Care's arguments "did not add marginal value to the litigation" (Appellate Decision, pg 8).
Dismissal of Last Appeal 08/31/2018
Attachments Docket Report.pdf
Amended Consolidated Complaint.pdf
Amended Preliminary Approval Order.pdf
Transcript of Fairness Hearing (Part 1).pdf
Transcript of Fairness Hearing (Part 2).pdf
Final Approval Opinion and Order.pdf
Memorandum Opinion and Final Approval Order.pdf
Motion for Appeal Bond from Objector Freedom Home Care.pdf
Freedom Home Care Response to Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Order Granting Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Appellate Decision.pdf
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Objection of Freedom Home Care, Robert Burack

Objectors Freedom Home Care
Robert Burack
Signers Jonathan P. Novoselsky
Attorneys Jonathan P. Novoselsky
Christopher A. Bandas
Robert W. Clore
Summary
  1. Attorneys' fees represent an improperly large portion of the settlement.

NOTE:  Attorney Bandas' pro hac vice motion was opposed by class counsel, but was granted by the Court.

Attachments Objection of Freedom Home Care.pdf
Novoselsky Appearance for Freedom Home Care.pdf
Bandas Pro Hac Vice Motion.pdf
Plaintiff's Opposition to Bandas Pro Hac Vice Motion.pdf
Bandas Reply in Support of Pro Hac Vice Motion.pdf
Clore Appearance for Objector Freedom Home Care.pdf
Order Granting Bandas Pro Hac Vice.pdf
Appeal of Objector Freedom Home Care.pdf
Motion to File Sur-Reply by Objector Freedom Home Care.pdf
Order Denying Motion to File Sur-Reply by Objector Freedom Home Care.pdf
Freedom Home Care Motion for Extension to File Appellate Brief.pdf
Freedom Home Care Appeal Docket.pdf
Freedom Home Care Motion for Fees.pdf
Defendants' Response to Freedom Home Care Motion for Fees.pdf
Plaintiff's Response to Freedom Home Care Motion for Fees.pdf
Order Denying Freedom Home Care Motion for Fees.pdf
Appeal of Objector Freedom Home Care (Order Denying Fees).pdf
Freedom Home Care Appeal Docket (Fees).pdf
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