Lawyers representing investors in Oasis Outsourcing Holdings Inc.'s 401(k) plan defended their request for nearly $2 million in attorneys’ fees after the proposed class action they filed against Oasis settled without formal litigation.
The $1,999,667 fee request—representing one third of the $5.99 million settlement—is within the range of recent fee awards in class actions filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Nichols Kaster PLLP and Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group told the federal judge hearing their case. Attorneys’ fee awards in ERISA class action settlements often range between 25 and 35 percent of the settlement amount, the lawyers said in their Dec. 17 filing.
The lawyers’ filing came at the request of Judge Robin L. Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, who Dec. 4 requested additional briefing listing recent settlements and fee awards in similar ERISA class actions.
The settlement agreement between Oasis and investors in its 401(k) plan, who accused the company of offering bad 401(k) investment options and paying excessive plan fees, was filed Aug. 17, the same day the investors filed their complaint.
The Oasis settlement marked the second time this year that parties involved in retirement fee disputes reached multimillion-dollar settlements before filing lawsuits in court. In May, Philips North America LLC reached a $17 million settlement over claims it mismanaged workers’ retirement assets. The workers’ lawyers in that case received $5.67 in attorneys’ fees, representing one third of the settlement.
The case against Oasis—a professional employer organization that provides human resources, payroll, and other HR services to employers that outsource these functions—is also noteworthy for involving a fee challenge against a multiple-employer 401(k) plan. Cases alleging excessive 401(k) fees usually involve single-employer plans and target large companies such as Verizon, Chevron, American Airlines, and Anthem.
Groom Law Group and Jones Foster Johnston & Stubbs represent Oasis.
The case is Clark v. Oasis Outsourcing Holdings, Inc., S.D. Fla., No. 9:18-cv-81101-RLR, notice of attorneys’ fee awards 12/17/18.