It is always an odd battle of brother v. brother when it comes to MDL fees. The plaintiffs’ MDL steering in most mass tort cases does most of the heavy lifting in getting the cases resolved. No one can argue with this. But the question is how much is that worth?
In the Avandia cases, the court decided that it is worth 6.25 percent of all settlements up to $143,750,000. Is that fair? It is hard to know. Hourly billing rates for common benefit attorneys ranged from $225 per hour to $595 per hour. No doubt, these are particularly easy to inflate and, let’s be honest, there is some bill padding that often goes on in these types of cases. But Glaxo’s lawyers are billing out as high as $825 per hour. That is guaranteed money as opposed to the speculative work that plaintiffs’ lawyers do in an MDL. (Of course, the steering committee also gathers up individual cases in their travels to supplement their pay.)