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I am going to be the lead plaintiff in a large class-action lawsuit. My attorneys will get one third of the

Elmhurst, NY |

verdict amount. I have incurred far more monetary damage than any of them, and without me, there would be no case. I have also helped immensely putting this case together. I know the judge has tremendous leeway when it comes to me getting an award. Can anyone tell me how much would be "fair" under these circumstances; 5 percent of the verdict amount, 10 percent..? Are there any actual cases like this that attorneys here know about?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Judge will regulate the legal fee, not necessarily one third. As class representative the judge will decide what you get. Consult with your attorney to discuss the matter. You are unlikely to get a percentage of the award, it depends on your damages and efforts.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com.


  2. Your benefit should come primarily in the recovery secured for each class member. You are not, nor should you be, a partner with your attorney in his or her fees. You absolutely cannot get a percentage of the verdict amount. Judges do have discretion to award "incentive payments" to encourage assistance and cooperation by class representatives, but these are not windfalls, they are intended to compensate class representatives for the time involved in assisting the class. It is not unusual for a court to award an incentive payment of $5,000, and in extraordinary cases, an award up to $35,000 may occur. The amount will be determined by factors such as the amount of time incurred and the extent to which your involvement was necessary to move the case forward. Some expenses can be reimbursed also. If you took on this role expecting to get a percentage of the recovery, you were misled. That is neither proper nor ethical.


  3. This is something that should have been, and most likely was, discussed in great detail by your attorneys with you before you agreed to be a class representative. Furthermore, this should have been detailed in an addendum to the retainer agreement
    Any questions you have regarding this or any aspect of the litigation should be discussed with class counsel.

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POSTING IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE FURNISHING OF THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES THE FURNISHING, REVIEW, AND SIGNING OF A RETAINER AGREEMENT.


  4. While it is not unheard of to be awarded an incentive fee of $10,000 or more, quite often it is a couple of grand. If you are looking to get rich, don't be a lead plaintiff. If you are looking to help others or teach the defendant a lesson and to correct its wrongful behavior be a lead plaintiff. Bear in mind that most putative class actions don't get certified.

    My comments are general in nature, are not legal advice as to your specific issue, and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. Disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of me. The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to me at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary. This statement is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.

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