Plaintiffs’ Counsel Asks for Nearly $79M in Attorneys’ Fees in T-Mobile Data Breach MDL

The three plaintiffs’ firms spearheading the multidistrict litigation against T-Mobile over the exposure of more than 50 million consumers’ personal records have asked the court of $78.75 million in fees, representing 22.5% of the $350 million cash settlement. The motion for approval of fees, expenses, and plaintiff service awards comes after the parties announced an end to the litigation in July.

The case dates to last August when complaints against the mobile carrier flooded federal courts around the country. After consolidation and transfer to Kansas City, Mo., lead counsel was selected in December 2021 and a consolidated complaint filed in May 2021.

The plaintiffs alleged more than 100 causes of action under state negligence and privacy laws, contending that T-Mobile did not do enough to prevent hackers from circumventing cybersecurity systems and accessing customer records.

Now, interim co-lead counsel Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, Keller Rorhback L.L.P., and Hausfeld LLP have requested what they call a “reasonable” amount of the “historic settlement,” which includes not only cash but also T-Mobile’s commitment to spend $150 million on data security improvements over the next two years.

“Class Counsel obtained this historic result in the face of numerous risks, including navigating a novel and rapidly developing legal landscape under multiple states’ varying laws and T-Mobile’s potential arbitration defenses, among other obstacles, all of which likely would have presented considerable litigation challenges and uncertainty,” the filing says.

The motion contends that a percentage-of-the-fund approach is an appropriate means of compensating counsel for time spent litigating the case, noting that under the terms of the settlement agreement, they were entitled to request up to 30% of the settlement. Further, a lodestar cross check, or a rate times hours approach, supports approval of the requested fee award, the motion says.

The request comes after a half-dozen or so putative class members filed objections to the settlement.

T-Mobile is represented by Alston & Bird LLP and Spencer Fane LLP.