Objection Centers on Plaintiffs’ Counsel Allegedly Selling Out For Fees.
As reported both in The Daily Journal and ABA Journal (on-line version), Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Curt of Appeals, and his wife, Marcy Tiffany, filed objections to a proposed settlement in a class action alleging defects in batteries for the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car. Judge Kozinski and Ms. Tiffany are class members, because they bought such an electric car in 2011 and had battery problems. The proposed settlement would have expanded the warranty for Leaf owners, awarded $5,000 to the two named plaintiffs (likely incentive awards), and awarded $1.9 million in fees to class counsel. The objection centered on the theme that the proposed settlement “was a sham, benefiting only class counsel, named plaintiffs and Nissan.” In fact, Chief Judge Kozinski spoke at the C.D. California federal court hearing which considered the proposed settlement, apparently occurring on November 18, 2013.