Early last year, Toyota agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit with about 2,500 people who complained that high intensity discharge (HID) headlights in the second-generation Prius sometimes turned off for no reason, according to the Los Angeles Times. By settling, Toyota avoided having to go in front of a jury or declaring a recall. About 300,000 people bought or leased 2006-2009 Prius vehicles, the National Law Journal estimates.
Now, five law firms representing plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Toyota over the alleged defects say the firms have a right to collect $4.7 million in attorneys fees on the $3.8 million settlement. They are petitioning a federal appeals court to overturn a judge's decision to chop those fees down to about $760,000, the National Law Journal reports.
Lead firm Girard Gibbs, in a July 30 brief, said the judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals' Ninth Circuit didn't properly account for the actual amount billed by the lawyers, which Girard Gibbs estimated at $1.25 million for its 2,900 hours (that's $431 an hour, folks) and which the other four firms collectively estimated at $1.85 million. No, we're not sure where the other $1.6 million is coming from either.
The judge estimated that the settlement – which involved cash reimbursements for bulb replacements made within the last five years and extended warranties – was worth about $3.8 million, and that the attorneys had a right to 20 percent of that figure. Toyota spent about $1.5 million defending the case, according to the publication.