Monday, May 21, 2007

McGuire Woods argues against itself in class action settlement

Eliot Disner, a McGuireWoods partner has raised objections to his firm's $49 million settlement of a class action against the nation's largest provider of bar review courses, BAR/BRI( a West entity). The gist of the suit is that Kaplan and BAR/BRI signed a joint marketing agreement in 1997 in which Kaplan agreed not to offer a bar review course and BAR/BRI promised not to provide preparatory courses for the Law School Admission Test.

The settlement calls for West Publishing to pay $36 million and Kaplan to pay $13 million. After $12 million in attorney fees, this translates into an average award of $125 each to the roughly 300,000 law students who took West Publishing's BAR/BRI courses between 1997 and 2006.

Wanting some more $$$, Disner drafted a 13-page brief arguing that the settlement lets West Publishing off the hook too lightly. He did not file the brief himself, but let the dissenting plaintiffs do so. If the case against BAR/BRI were to go to trial, Disner argues in the brief, it could result in a judgment of more than $400 million, based on the treble damages available under antitrust law.

No comments: