Lawyers in concrete price-fixing case awarded $18M in fees

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Despite objections from Duke Realty Corp., a federal judge has approved additional attorney fees relating to the ready-mix price-fixing settlement that drives the total take for lawyers up to nearly $18 million.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker signed off on the new fees earlier this week after Indianapolis-based Duke opposed a request to award an additional $9.7 million in attorney fees, calling the amount excessive.

Duke, one of the plaintiffs in the antitrust class-action lawsuit, had complained that the lawyers who had waged the five-year fight on its behalf would walk away with too large a windfall.

Indianapolis attorney Irwin Levin and his legal team negotiated almost $60 million in settlements with providers of ready-mix concrete in the Indianapolis area.

The $18 million in fees is based on a common formula in class-action cases that awards attorneys one-third of the recovery amount. The fees are among the highest ever for an Indianapolis class-action case.

Attorneys for Duke, however, argued a more appropriate award should fall between 5 percent and 22.5 percent of the settlement amount. They said in court documents that plaintiff lawyers “offer little substantive support that [one-third] reflects a true market rate, in this instance.”

Duke further said that by the time Levin and his team struck their largest settlement—a $29 million deal with Greenfield-based Irving Materials Inc.—the danger of not getting paid was “virtually nonexistent.”

But Barker pointed out that Levin and his team took the case knowing they wouldn’t get paid if they lost. Because of the uncertainties, class-action attorneys are accustomed to collecting larger checks than colleagues paid by the hour.

“From the time Class Counsel agreed to provide services,” she wrote, “this risk of the litigation has been substantial.”

Levin, managing partner of Cohen & Malad LLP, told IBJ in late March that other plaintiffs are “absolutely thrilled” about the settlement, and that they are recovering nearly the entire amounts they were overcharged as a result of the price-fixing scheme.

Barker rendered her final judgment on Tuesday.

Levin was co-lead counsel in the case with Stephen Susman of Susman Godfrey in Houston. Both are heavy hitters nationally who’ve won some big class-action settlements over the years.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!