Fri 07 Apr 2006
Yesterday, 996 pages were filed in response to Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald's April 6 deadline to file papers in support of the application for final settlement from her Hearing order of January 6. I downloaded them all; PACER is now $70 richer. A number of the documents, due to the way PACER works, were divided into multiple, smaller, documents. To make browsing easier, I have consolidated those types of documents into single documents whenever possible. The largest file is around 3.5 MB. Feel free to link to the documents. If you wish to copy and host them elsewhere, please credit SonySuit.com.
I'm in the process of updating the docket on the Michaelson page with the actual docket text and links to each document. Look for that to be done tonight. First, I wanted to get the most important documents online. Of note are three motions.
The first is the Plaintiffs Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement. In addition to the motion itself, there is a Memorandum in Support of the Motion and the affidavits of Mark Russinovich, Kimberly K. Ness, Dora Rivas, and a joint affidavit of Class Counsel Daniel C. Girard and Scott A. Kamber. Declarations supporting the motion were filed by Plaintiffs James Michaelson, Ori Edelstein, and Alexander Guevara.
The second is the Motion for Attorney Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Incentive Awards to Named Plaintiffs. This application for fees by the Class Counsel is capped at $2,300,000.00 in legal fees and $75,000.00 in expenses. Additionally, under the terms of the settlement, each of the named Plaintiffs will receive, in addition to the other provisions of the settlement, a $1000 cash incentive payment to encourage them to agree to the settlement.
Also filed with the second motion was a Memorandum in Support of the Motion and the declarations of Peter Safirstein, Ira M. Press, Oren Giskan, Cornelius P. Dukelow, Barry M. Altman, Dennis A. Burke, Tracy D. Rezvani, Peter Michael D. Halbelish, Alan Himmelfarb, Michael L. Kelly, Robert I. Lax, Douglas A. Linde, Daniel Lynch, Paul R. Huff, William A. Baird, Ethan Preston, Stephen Raff, Brian J. Robbins, Philip A. Tortoreti, Robert I. Harwood, Jennifer Sarnelli, and Joseph E. Levi, which contain information about their billing and work performed during the settlement.
The third set of documents is the Motion for an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses from the other set of Plaintiffs. This set of fees is in addition to that of the Class Counsel, noted above and includes the attorneys for the EFF. These attorneys request fees in the amount of $1,846,480.16 and expenses in the amount of $90,148.66. I anticipate that the Class Counsel and Sony BMG will oppose this application for fees and expenses.
The third motion is supported by a Memorandum in Support of the Motion and the affidavits of Reed R. Kathrein, Steven M. Bellovin, Larry Ponemon, Aram Sinnreich, Lawrence E. Feldman, and Stan Mallison. Declarations supporting the motion were filed by Ira P. Rothken, Esq., Robert S. Green, Cindy A. Cohn, Diana Schneider, and a Joint Declaration of Counsel (Cindy A. Cohn, Jeffrey D. Friedman, and Rovert S. Green).
While I have not finished reviewing all of the documents, I was particularly impressed with the "inside look" that the Affidavit of Reed R. Kathrein gives to the settlement process. It's quite lengthy (288 pages) and includes many emails that have been sent throughout the settlement.
These applications total $4,311,628.82 in fees and expenses. I was not able to find any indication of the number of claimants thus far, so it is impossible for me to guess at the total cost of this settlement to Sony BMG. Mr. Sinnreich, in an analysis performed for the EFF, attempts to form a reasonable estimate of the cost of various settlement provisions. It is of note that Dr. Larry Ponemon, in his affidavit for the EFF, notes that there are 1,440,000 computers infected with XCP or MediaMax. Divided equally, these fees represent $2.99 to the attorneys for each infection. Dr. Ponemon estimates the total cost to consumers of the infection to be between $10,530,000.00 (using minimum wage) and $32,760,000.00 (Average U.S. Wage).
I did find that two letters of complaint have been sent to Class Counsel complaining that the settlement is inadequate. If you want to share your views and opinions with the Court, or would like to attend the May 22 Fairness Hearing, please read my recent post for simple forms, details, and instructions.