Class Action News

James Bond Class Counsel Ask 9th Circuit for More Fees

March 28, 2019, 8:19 PM

The court that approved a class settlement alleging Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and Twentieth Century Fox left two movies out of the James Bond box set improperly reduced the award of attorneys’ fees, the class told the Ninth Circuit March 27.

The court calculated the attorneys’ fee of $184,700 using the wrong number of hours worked by class counsel and an arbitrary 25 percent reduction, the brief argues.

The lower court granted final approval to the deal, under which class members will get digital copies of the two movies, in October.

But the court declined to give class counsel its requested $350,000 in fees, pointing to a low claims rate on the settlement.

The class includes about 300,000 class members, but only 643 made claims, the court found.

The class took issue with the court’s valuation of the deal at $138,600. It arrived at this figure by assuming a 10 percent class participation rate—30,000 claims—multiplied by $4.62, which is the value it placed on the two omitted films.

The class, on the other hand, valued the settlement at $8.7 million, based on the total number of class members and $28.98, the cost of buying digital copies of the movies on Amazon.

The class called the district court’s calculation “illogical, implausible, and without support in the record.”

It also challenged the reduction of the requested $5,000 lead plaintiff award to $1,500.

Mary Johnson alleged the studios falsely represent their James Bond DVD and Blu-ray box sets as including “all” the Bond films, even though they don’t include the original “Casino Royale” from 1967 and “Never Say Never Again.” MGM owns the rights to those two films but they were produced by a different company than the rest.

Eisenhower & Carlson represents Johnson.

Lane Powell P.C. and Munger Tolles & Olson represents the studios.

The case is Johnson v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., 9th Cir., No. 18-35967, opening brief 3/27/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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