On October 18, Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia approved a $70 million settlement in an antitrust case, with more than $23.3 million awarded to the plaintiffs’ attorneys. This case helpfully illustrates the factors courts in the Fourth Circuit analyze when considering class action settlements and showcases the sizable fees plaintiffs’ attorneys can obtain. The case is In re Zetia (Ezetimibe) Antitrust Litigation, No. 2:18-md-02836-RBS-DEM.
Plaintiffs who secure a preliminary injunction may now be able to recover attorney’s fees in the Eastern District of Virginia, due to the Fourth Circuit’s departure from its previous position that such plaintiffs are not “prevailing parties” for purposes of recovering attorney’s fees.
On August 23, Judge Rebecca Beach Smith issued a notable decision that serves as a stern warning to out-of-state counsel seeking to practice in the Eastern District — and, perhaps more so, to the local counsel who choose to associate with them.
On June 12, Judge Hudson granted an emergency motion to stay arbitration proceedings, pending the court’s resolution of the issue of arbitrability in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division. See Sauer Brands, Inc. v. Polytrade Int’l, Inc., No. 3:23-cv-181-HEH, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135786 (E.D. Va. June 12, 2023). As getting a case in or out of arbitration may be critical in pursuing a merits-based strategy or mitigating against excessive costs, this case provides several key considerations in structuring arbitration agreements and how to procedurally maneuver when one party proceeds to arbitration unilaterally over the other party’s objection.
A recent EDVA decision reinforced the point that removal to federal court must be based on the existence of either federal question or diversity jurisdiction, but not supplemental jurisdiction.