According to an article dated April 15, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied plaintiffs' attorneys' request for 20% of a $9 million settlement in a securities fraud class action, finding that the relatively low recovery, lack of complexity of the case, and the low risks in the case supported a lower percentage for attorneys' fees. The district court awarded 15% of the settlement to the lead counsel as attorneys' fees.
In a press release dated February 15, 2007, counsel for plaintiffs who were not part of a class action sought one third of the fees awarded to class counsel in the class action's $9 million settlement, on the basis that it and the two firms representing the class plaintiffs should split the fees under the 'equitable fund' doctrine. The court denied the fee application. It distinguished Dubin v. E.F. Hutton Group Inc., County of Suffolk v. Long Island Lighting Co., and Alpine Pharmacy Inv. v. Chas. Pfizer & Co., and noted that passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA) altered the landscape of attorney fee awards in securities class actions. Aware of no case in the Second Circuit awarding fees to non-class counsel under the PSLRA and noting the Third Circuit's approach in In re Cendant Corp. Sec. Litig., the court declined to award fees, observing that 'the very greedy nature' of counsel's application -- seeking reimbursement of all fees from the bringing of suit through the May 2006 class settlement -- was grounds for denying the application.
By the Order entered on January 31, 2007, by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the Court grants the motion to approve the settlement, find that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. Two other matters remain for deposition: applications for attorneys' fees by class plaintiffs and by counsel for the plaintiffs in the Gordon action, which is not among the class actions.
According to the Notice of Pendency dated July 31, 2006, a settlement fund in the amount of $9 million has been established. A Settlement Fairness Hearing is scheduled for Monday, October 23, 2006, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. At this hearing the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.
In a press release dated June 15, 2006, on May 3, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a company's motion to stay a magistrate judge's order compelling discovery of documents in a securities fraud class action. NTL Inc. was a defendant in a securities fraud class action. Shortly after the suit was filed, NTL filed for bankruptcy. During the plan of reorganization, two separate companies emerged, NTL and NTL Europe Inc. Plaintiffs sought sanctions against Europe and NTL for failing to provide discovery documents. The magistrate court ordered Europe to produce 50 boxes of documents that were located in England to the plaintiffs. …The district court denied Europe's motion, finding that Europe produced other documents during the litigation, indicating that Europe had control over the documents. The district court also noted that Europe's counsel consented to the order.
As summarized by the Notice of Pendency, several securities class actions were consolidated for all purposes by Court Order on July 31, 2002. By order of the Court dated July 31, 2002, Cheyne Fund LP and Fleck T.I.M.E. Fund L.P. were designated Lead Plaintiffs and Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (formerly known as Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP) and Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP were appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for the Class. On October 30, 2002, a Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint was filed. NTL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 8, 2002. On September 5, 2002, the United States Bankruptcy Court permitted the Action to proceed post-reorganization against the parties other than the corporate debtor and against the corporate debtor to the extent of its available insurance coverage. NTL Europe, Inc. replaced the corporate entity in the Action. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint on December 6, 2002. By Memorandum and Order dated December 12, 2004, the
Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Complaint. On January 28, 2005, Defendants answered the Complaint. Defendants deny that they violated any laws or did anything wrong. They believe that their actions were proper under the federal securities laws, and they assert several affirmative defenses. On September 7, 2005, Lead Plaintiffs made a motion to certify the Class as described above. By Order dated March 9, 2006, the Court certified the Class as described above and Cheyne Fund LP and Fleck T.I.M.E. Fund L.P. as Class Representatives.
The original Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market between August 9, 2000 and November 29, 2001, thereby artificially inflating the price of NTL securities. The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements which failed to disclose, among other things, (a) that the Company was unable to effectively integrate its acquisitions and, as a result was experiencing substantial difficulties in operating its business; (b) that the Company was not fully funded until 2003, and as a result of its massive debt burden would necessarily have to restructure its debt; (c) that the Company was underreporting churn rates by failing to report terminations and by continuing to bill customers for accounts which they had terminated, thereby creating the false impression that the Company was retaining customers longer and that migrations were decreasing; and (d) that the Company was improperly delaying the write-down of billions of dollars of impaired assets, thereby artificially inflating the Company's operating results. Indeed, after the end of the Class Period, NTL announced that it would write off over $11 billion of goodwill and other asset impairments prior to reporting fourth quarter financial results, which would result in an astounding loss per share for the fourth quarter 2001 of $46.46 per share.