senate Bill S4577A

Signed By Governor
2011-2012 Legislative Session

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

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Sponsored By

Archive: Last Bill Status - Signed by Governor


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

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Actions

view actions (14)
Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Sep 23, 2011 signed chap.566
Sep 12, 2011 delivered to governor
Jun 06, 2011 returned to senate
passed assembly
ordered to third reading rules cal.75
substituted for a7519a
Jun 02, 2011 referred to codes
delivered to assembly
passed senate
May 23, 2011 amended on third reading 4577a
May 09, 2011 advanced to third reading
May 04, 2011 2nd report cal.
May 03, 2011 1st report cal.441
Apr 12, 2011 referred to judiciary

Votes

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Bill Amendments

Original
A (Active)
Original
A (Active)

Co-Sponsors

S4577 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7519A
Law Section:
Civil Practice Law and Rules
Laws Affected:
Amd R909, CPLR

S4577 - Bill Texts

view summary

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

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S4577

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.

2011 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None. New proposal.

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

                                  4577

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 12, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. BONACIC -- (at request of the Office of Court Admin-
  istration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed  to  be
  committed to the Committee on Judiciary

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
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.
                                                           LBD09315-01-1

Co-Sponsors

S4577A (ACTIVE) - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7519A
Law Section:
Civil Practice Law and Rules
Laws Affected:
Amd R909, CPLR

S4577A (ACTIVE) - Bill Texts

view summary

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

view 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 full text
download pdf
                    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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