California Supreme Court Provides Clarity in Class Action Attorneys’ Fee Award

California Employment Law Letter

Elizabeth J. Boca, an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s San Francisco office, authored an article in the California Employment Law Letter, titled “California Supreme Court Provides Clarity in Class Action Attorneys’ Fee Award.”

Following is an excerpt:

Current and former employees of staffing agency Robert Half International, Inc., filed a class action alleging they were misclassified. After years of litigation, the parties reached a $19 million settlement, which included a common fund for the payment of the class counsel’s attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs’ counsel requested, and the trial court approved, $6,666,666 in attorneys’ fees, which represented one-third of the $19 million recovered for the class.

Before approving it, the trial court cross-checked the attorneys’ fee award using a lodestar-multiplier method. The lodestar is reached by multiplying the hours counsel reasonably expended by a reasonable hourly rate, which the court may adjust up or down at its discretion.