What Is This Case About?
BAR/BRI provides full-service bar review courses throughout the United States, which are aimed at assisting would-be attorneys in their preparation for taking one or more bar examinations required by each state and the District of Columbia prior to the issuance of a license to practice law. Plaintiffs allege that BAR/BRI violated the federal antitrust laws by agreeing with Kaplan, Inc., to prevent competition in the market for full-service bar review courses. Please see the Notice for a full description of Plaintiffs' allegations.
West Publishing Corporation is the owner of BAR/BRI and is a defendant. The other defendant is Kaplan, Inc. (BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, Inc., are hereinafter collectively referred to as "Defendants.") Defendants deny Plaintiffs' allegations and contend that their conduct was legal.
On February 2, 2007 the parties entered into a Stipulation and Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement"). A copy of the Settlement Agreement may be viewed by clicking here.
Please note: the deadline for files claims has passed.
The Court has determined that no claim submitted after August 18, 2009 shall be accepted for any reason whatsoever.
Summary of Events since Final Approval
PLEASE NOTE: Over 88,000 Claim Forms representing claims for over 130,000 BAR/BRI courses have been processed by the Claims Administrator. On September 10, 2007, after a preliminary approval hearing and multiple final approval hearings, the District Court granted final approval of the Settlement. A few class member Objectors appealed this order.
On April 23, 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the "Ninth Circuit") affirmed the Settlement and remanded to the District Court for further proceedings the award of attorneys' fees to Class Counsel and Objectors' Counsel.
On August 7, 2009, the District Court issued an order awarding certain Objectors' counsel a total of $16,250. In August and September, 2009, a few class member Objectors filed Notices of Appeal with the Ninth Circuit regarding the District Court's order. Those appeals are currently pending. No date for argument has been set by the Ninth Circuit.
On December 7, 2009, Settling Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Distribution of the Net Settlement Fund and Approval and Distribution of Attorneys' Fees and Expenses came on for hearing before the Honorable Judge Manual L. Real. On February 3, 2010, the District Court entered an order granting final distribution of the Net Settlement Fund upon resolution of all appeals (the "Final Distribution Order"). In the Final Distribution Order the Court (1) approved the determinations of the Claims Administrator rejecting and accepting claims and determining the amount of each Authorized Claim, (2) resolved all requests for Court review of disputed claims, and (3) denied attorneys' fees to Class Counsel McGuireWoods LLP ("MW"), granted attorneys' fees to Class Counsel Finkelstein Thompson, LLP ("FT") and Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP ("ZSZ") in a reduced amount, and awarded expenses to all Class Counsel.
A motion for reconsideration of the portion of the Final Distribution Order relating to attorneys' fees was scheduled for hearing before the District Court on March 29, 2010. Six groups of objectors filed motions requesting attorneys' fees as a result of the District Court's overall reduction of attorneys' fees to Class Counsel.
On February 24, 2010, MW filed a Notice of Appeal of the portion of the Final Distribution Order denying MW attorneys' fees. On March 1, 2010 FT and ZSZ filed a Notice of Appeal of the portion of the Final Distribution Order reducing the attorneys' fees awarded to FT and ZSZ. No hearing date has been scheduled for these appeals.
On March 2, 2010, the District Court took all pending motions off calendar pending the determination of all appeals. On March 9, 2010, Class Counsel asked the District Court to reconsider its decision removing all motions from the Court's calendar and to reinstate the March 29, 2010 hearing on the motions. On March 10, 2010 the District Court denied Class Counsel's request to restore the motions to the Court's calendar.
On March 31, 2010, Class Counsel filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit to consolidate all pending appeals and to expedite the briefing schedule and hearing of the appeals.
On May 6, 2010, The Ninth Circuit issued an order holding the appellate proceedings in abeyance until the District Court resolved the pending motions. The District Court scheduled a hearing on all of the pending motions for July 19, 2010. The District Court subsequently rescheduled the hearing for August 9, 2010.
On August 9, 2010, the District Court issued an order denying the Motion for Reconsideration of FT and ZSZ. The Court ordered further briefing on the Motion for Reconsideration of MW and continued the hearing on that motion and all of the Objectors' motions for attorneys' fees until September 27, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
On September 27, 2010 the District Court modified its order denying attorneys' fees to McGuireWoods, LLP by awarding McGuireWoods $500,000 in attorneys' fees for the period from July 10, 2007 through September 10, 2010. The District Court also denied all pending motions filed by Objectors seeking attorneys' fees or an equitable award.
A number of these orders have been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Class Counsel made a Motion for Partial Distribution of the Settlement Fund in the amount of $30,000,000 to Authorized Claimants as determined by the District Court in its Order dated February 3, 2010. Any remaining balance in the Settlement Fund would be distributed upon the final resolution of all appeals. The motion also sought the distribution of certain fees and expenses which are also not subject to any further appeals.
On December 6, 2010, the District Court approved a partial distribution from the Settlement Fund of $30,000,000 to Authorized Claimants. This sum was distributed on February 9, 2011 according to the Plan of Allocation, which provides that each Recognized Claim (the amount paid by an Authorized Claimant as determined by the Claims Administrator and approved by the Court) is divided by the total of all Recognized Claims ($215,965,244.63). The result was multiplied by $30,000,000 (the "Partial Award"). For example, an Authorized Claimant with a Recognized Claim of $2000 received a Partial Award of $277.82 ($2000 divided by $215,965,244.63 times $30,000,000).
The balance of the Settlement Fund will be distributed when all outstanding appeals have been resolved and the matter has become final.