- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
- Date Filed: 09-28-2022
- Case #: 21-15758; 21-15761; 21-15762; 21-15763
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Nguyen, J. for the Court; Owens, J.; &Nelson, J.
- Full Text Opinion
The district court approved a $310 million class action settlement, which included $80.6 million in attorney’s fees for allegations that Apple secretly controlled the iPhones’ system software (“iOS”) of certain models to conceal battery defects. Class members, Sarah Feldman, Hondo Jan and Deborah Patoni (collectively, the “objectors”) challenged the district court’s holding. Objectors assigned error to the district court’s approval of the settlement and amount in attorney’s fees. Objectors argued that the district court applied the incorrect legal standard in determining the fairness of the settlement and failed to apply a heightened level of scrutiny. In determining if a settlement in a class action is fair and reasonable, the district court “must apply an even higher level of scrutiny” that considers if there are “any subtle signs that class counsel have allowed pursuit of their own self-interest to infect the negotiations.” Roes v. SFBSC Mgmt., LLC, 944 F.3d 1035, 1046 (9th Cir. 2019). The Court reasoned that the district court incorrectly assumed the settlement was fair and ignored precedent mandating a “heightened fairness inquiry prior to class certification.” Vacated and remanded.