senate Bill S4577A

Signed by Governor

Authorizes attorneys' fees to be awarded to any person that the court finds has acted to benefit the class

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor
view actions

actions

  • 12 / Apr / 2011
    • REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • 03 / May / 2011
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.441
  • 04 / May / 2011
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 09 / May / 2011
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 23 / May / 2011
    • AMENDED ON THIRD READING 4577A
  • 02 / Jun / 2011
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 02 / Jun / 2011
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 02 / Jun / 2011
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 06 / Jun / 2011
    • SUBSTITUTED FOR A7519A
  • 06 / Jun / 2011
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING RULES CAL.75
  • 06 / Jun / 2011
    • PASSED ASSEMBLY
  • 06 / Jun / 2011
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 12 / Sep / 2011
    • DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • 23 / Sep / 2011
    • SIGNED CHAP.566

Summary

Authorizes attorneys' fees to be awarded to any person that the court finds has acted to benefit the class.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7519A
Versions:
S4577
S4577A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Law Section:
Civil Practice Law and Rules
Laws Affected:
Amd R909, CPLR

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4577A

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to the award of
attorneys' fees in class actions

This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of
the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her
Advisory Committee on Civil Practice.

A recent decision of the New York Court of Appeals, Flemming v
Barnwell Nursing Home and Health Facilities, Inc., _ N.Y.3d _,2010 WL
4116615 (Oct. 21, 2010) highlights what our Advisory Committee
believes to be a deficiency in the scope of CPLR Rule 909, which
relates to the award of attorneys' fees in class actions. That rule
gives a court discretion to award attorneys' fees to representatives
of the class based upon the reasonable value of the services
rendered. In Flemming, the issue was whether an attorney for an
objecting member of the class, whose actions actually benefitted the
class, could also receive an award of attorneys' fees. The majority
held that the attorney could not receive fees because of the strict
wording of rule 909 which limits an award of fees to
"representatives of the class." Two judges dissented, arguing that
rule 909 was not intended to restrict the well-established common
fund doctrine, which, under the common law, allowed those whose
actions benefitted a common fund to receive reimbursement for their
efforts.

We believe that it is appropriate for a court to award fees, in
appropriate actions, to a party whose attorney benefits the class in
some tangible way, other than as counsel to the named class members.
In many class action cases, objecting parties successfully argue that
the proposed settlement is inadequate, that the class should be
expanded or, as in Flemming, that the fees proposed for the class
representatives are too high. The court should also have the
discretion to compensate counsel for those efforts.

We therefore propose an amendment to CPLR rule 909 to specifically
provide that the court may award attorneys' fees to not only
representatives of the class, but also to any person that the court
finds has acted to benefit the class.

This measure would have no fiscal impact on the State. It would take
effect immediately and apply to all actions commenced on or after the
date on which it shall have become a law and all actions pending on
the date on which it shall have become a law.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None. New proposal.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 4577--A
    Cal. No. 441

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 12, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  BONACIC,  PARKER  -- (at request of the Office of
  Court Administration) -- read twice  and  ordered  printed,  and  when
  printed  to  be  committed  to  the Committee on Judiciary -- reported
  favorably from said committee, ordered to  first  and  second  report,
  ordered  to  a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining
  its place in the order of third reading

AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules,  in  relation  to  the
  award of attorneys' fees in class actions

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Rule 909 of the civil practice law and rules, as  added  by
chapter 207 of the laws of 1975, is amended to read as follows:
  Rule  909. Attorneys' fees. If a judgment in an action maintained as a
class action is rendered in  favor  of  the  class,  the  court  in  its
discretion may award attorneys' fees to the representatives of the class
AND/OR TO ANY OTHER PERSON THAT THE COURT FINDS HAS ACTED TO BENEFIT THE
CLASS  based  on  the reasonable value of legal services rendered and if
justice requires, allow recovery of the amount awarded from the opponent
of the class.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and apply to  all  actions
commenced  on  or after the date on which it shall have become a law and
all actions pending on the date on which it shall have become a law.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09315-03-1

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