Evans v. Jeff D.
Yeazell, pp. 358-362
Facts: A class action was filed
Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling, saying that “a
stipulated waiver of all attorney's fees obtained solely as a condition for
obtaining relief for the class should not be accepted by the court.” The state of
Issue: Do federal district courts have the power to approve the waiver of attorney’s fees?
Rule: Rule 23(e) requires court approval of settlements of class actions. The Fees Act doesn’t prohibit all settlements conditioned on the waiver of fees.
Analysis: The Court finds that the district court did not go over the line in approving the fee waiver in the context of a settlement favorable to the plaintiffs.
Conclusion: The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the ruling of the trial court that the attorney’s fees could be waived.
Notes and Questions
a. So the Legal Aid Society needs to think about other future potential clients, not just the current ones.
b. What do you mean no ethical dilemma? That’s assuming that being a proper advocate has infinite value and cannot be exchanged for any other value, like the solvency of a socially useful organization or making sure that your own kids can eat. The reality is that this dilemma will have an impact on the case. The Court shouldn’t stick its head in the sand and pretend there is no dilemma, it should deal with the dilemma.
1. Why would the clients want to refuse a settlement requiring a wavier of attorney’s fees? What do they care?
a. That seems pretty selfish.
b. Do people
really obey these rules? If Idaho Legal
Aid is unwilling to take the case for really free, then it
shouldn’t. If the clients sign and