Sumpter v. Crittenden Hospital Association et al
ORDER granting as modified 181 Motion. The settlement is approved as modified and the case will be dismissed with prejudice. The defendants must remit $496,146.97 to the claims administrator and $603,853.03 to Watson Burns, PLLC by 12/4 /2017. The claims administrator will oversee disbursement of the settlement fund, including the service award. Class counsel will disburse the attorney's fees and reimburse expenses. Joint report on all disbursements due by 1/4/2018. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 10/31/2017. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
on behalf of herself and all similarly
CRITTENDEN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION,
INC.; EUGENE K. CASHMAN, III; W . BRAD
McCORMICK; CIGNA HEALTH AND LIFE
INSURANCE CO.; JAMIE R. CARTER, JR.;
DAVID G. BAYTOS; DAVID RAINES, JR.;
JASON W. COLLARD; HERSCHEL F.
OWENS; ANDREW LUTTRELL; KEITH M.
INGRAM; RANDALL CATT; WILLIAM
JOHNSON; LANNIE L. LANCASTER;
JULIO P. RUIZ; SHERRYL. LONDON;
NESS S. SECHREST; RANDY R. SULLIVAN;
and LEVEN WILLIAMS
1. The Court thanks all counsel for their h ard work in this case.
Th e arguments m ad e, briefs filed, and exhibits submitted were h elpful
and appreciated .
2. Th e Court finds that all required step s have been taken. Ng 162 .
Proper notice was given. CAF A w as complied with. And the final
rep ort of claim s was diligently compiled by the class administrator.
3. For the reasons stated on the record, the Court approves the
proposed settlement with modifications on attorney's fees.
settlement as modified is fair, reasonable, and adequate, as required by
In reaching this conclusion, the Court considered the
strength of the plaintiffs' case, the defendants' financial condition, the
complexity of further litigation, and the amount of opposition to the
settlement. Van Horn v. Trickey, 840 F.2d 604, 607 (8th Cir. 1988).
The settlement, although imperfect, puts money back in the
pockets of those who lost it. It used a vigorous claims procedure to
ensure that it does so. It prevents further wasting of coverage and
mitigates the risks inherent in dealing with a bankrupt defendant.
There has also been little opposition to it. Given these circumstances,
as well as case's unique complexity, this settlement is the best bet to
make the plaintiff class whole. Keil v. Lopez, 862 F.3d 685, 693-98 (8th
Cir. 2017). The $1,150,000 settlement is therefore approved.
4. The Court orders that $153,853.03 be set aside for payment of
expenses. Any additional expenses will be subtracted from the
attorney's fees on a pro rata basis.
5. The Court creates a settlement fund of $496,146.97 for the
benefit of the class. It is allocated as follows:
• $334,380.07 to pay all approved claims. Any money for
approved claims that is not disbursed will revert to the
• $5000 to pay Yolanda Goodman for her services as class
• The balance, including any money from undisbursable
claims, to pay all class members on a per capita basis.
6. The Court notes that there was some ambiguity in the proposed
settlement about whether the settlement fund balance should flow to
the claimants or to all class members. But the parties commendably
clarified the meaning at the fairness hearing. The Court agrees. With
the consent of all parties, the Court adopts per capita distribution to all
class members as the better reading of the proposed agreement.
7. The Court modifies the requested attorney's fees, NQ 163 & NQ
164, to make them reasonable. Lead class counsel's lodestar proposal
was too high and objecting class counsel's one-third of the fund
proposal was too low. The Court therefore sustains the objections in
part and overrules them in part. Ng 173 & Ng 176. All material things
considered, a reasonable attorney's fee in this case is $500,000. That
number is a bit high when viewed as a percentage of the common fund,
while a bit low when viewed as a lodestar. But it ensures a reasonable
overall fee for all the lawyers, reflecting both the common fund
achieved, as well as an efficient amount of time at northeast Arkansas
rates for the results obtained. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433-37
Petrovic v. Amoco Oil Co., 200 F.3d 1140, 1157 (8th Cir. 1999).
8. The fee award should be split amongst class counsel, with
eighty-five percent going to lead class counsel and fifteen percent going
to objecting class counsel.
Each group must apportion their share
9. The Court retains jurisdiction to oversee the settlement and
resolve any issues that might arise under it.
10. The Court converts the preliminary injunction, NQ 162 at 8-9,
into a permanent one.
11. The claims administrator must post this Order, as well as the
accompanying Judgment, on the class website now. Copies of this
Order and the accompanying Judgment must be mailed to all class
members with the checks.
administrator and $603,853.03 to Watson Burns, PLLC by 4 December
The claims administrator will oversee disbursement of the
settlement fund, including the service award.
Class counsel will
disburse the attorney's fees and reimburse expenses. Joint report on all
due by 4 January 2018.
*This case was in the Court's mind, but the Court forgot to cite it from
Motion, NQ 181, granted as modified. The settlement is approved
as modified. The case will be dismissed with prejudice.
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
31 odcldA :z.011
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