Consumer Law

Judge Slashes $4.7M Fee Request in Prius Headlight Case, Calls Amount 'Highly Unreasonable'


Lawyers who obtained a class-action settlement valued at more than $3.8 million in a Prius headlight suit won’t get anywhere near the $4.7 million they requested in attorney fees, according to the federal judge presiding in the case.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of Los Angeles called the request “highly unreasonable” and slashed fees to $766,000, the National Law Journal (reg. req.) reports. At the same time, he gave final approval to the settlement.

Real said there was no need for five law firms to work on the suit, which alleged Prius headlights sporadically turn off and on. The legal work, he said, was “narrow, not complex.” And the billing records submitted were “most difficult, if not impossible, to decipher,” he said.

About 65 percent of the fees will go to Girard Gibbs, which had sought $1.9 million for its share of the work. Partner Eric Gibbs told the NLJ he was pleased the settlement was approved. “As for the fee award, we’ll need to sit down and weigh the court’s comments against the record that that court has before it, and use that preface to evaluate what our next steps ought to be,” he said.

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