Benefits & Executive Compensation News

Citigroup Workers’ Lawyers Continue Fight Over $2.3M Fee Award

March 6, 2019, 6:46 PM

The attorneys who negotiated a $6.9 million class settlement with Citigroup Inc. over its 401(k) plan continue to fight over how to divide up their $2.3 million attorneys’ fee award.

McTigue Law LLP, which worked with Bailey & Glasser LLP to represent the Citigroup workers, sought a court order distributing the portion of the fee award “that is beyond reasonable dispute” before the firms head to mediation over the remainder. McTigue’s March 5 motion accuses Bailey & Glasser of keeping the entire fee award in escrow until at least the first week in April, a delay McTigue calls “burdensome.”

McTigue’s proposed distribution would allow the firm to receive nearly $1.6 million, with about $450,000 distributed to Bailey & Glasser and $250,000 left in escrow to be divided by an arbitrator.

The fee dispute has been brewing since at least Feb. 12, when McTigue sent a letter to Judge Sidney H. Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York complaining that Bailey & Glasser refused to release the fee award from escrow in light of a dispute over about $40,000. Bailey & Glasser moved to have the fee dispute sent to arbitration but withdrew that motion after McTigue agreed to mediate.

In its latest filing, McTigue accused Bailey & Glasser of unreasonably refusing to schedule the mediation until at least April. This delay is burdensome for McTigue, the firm said, because it’s a small firm with only a few lawyers and would use the fee award “as capital to fund litigation and represent other clients.”

The underlying lawsuit accused Citigroup of loading its 401(k) plan with high-fee, proprietary mutual funds. Citigroup agreed to settle after the case was certified as a class action covering nearly 190,000 investors.

The case is Leber v. Citigroup 401(k) Plan Inv. Comm., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:07-cv-09329-SHS-DCF, motion for pre-arbitration relief 3/5/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at jwille@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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