Just what is a reasonable feeas required by RPC 1.5? How is it determined in practice? In the BP Gulf Oil Spill Compensation cases MDL – in which $5 billion has already been paid out, the “common benefit” fees to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee and those who bore the brunt of the litigation are not yet payable. Fees must, of course be reasonable. Judge Carl Barbier here lays out a road map and establishes guidelines for review of fee applications.
Judge Barbier Establishes Common Benefit Fee Committee and Issues Guidelines in BP Spill Economic and Medical Compensation Case
PRETRIAL ORDER NO. 59
(Appointment of Common Benefit Fee and Cost Committee and Guidelines for Common Benefit Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Reimbursement)
Even though a formal petition for an award of common benefit attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs (“Aggregate Fee and Cost Petition”) likely will not be filed in this litigation until 2016 or later, it is important at this time to begin the process of creating a structure, establishing guidelines, and setting a timetable for the eventual presentation to the Court of an Aggregate Fee and Cost Petition and a subsequent recommendation regarding allocation of the Aggregate Common Benefit Fee and Costs Award among eligible Fee Applicants “Allocation Recommendation”).
BP has agreed to pay up to $600 million in common benefit attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, as awarded by the Court.1 Under the Fee Agreement, “[a]ny common benefit Class Counsel fees and costs awarded by the Court will not be deducted from Class Members’ recoveries, but will be paid by BP in addition to other class benefits.” In re OIL SPILL by the OIL RIG “DEEPWATER HORIZON” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, 295 F.R.D. 112, 126 (E.D. La. 2013), appeal dism’d in part, No. 13-30221 (5th Cir. Feb. 11, 2014).