Stinson et al v. The City of New York

Filing 338

OPINION re: 324 MOTION to Approve Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Settlement, Service Payments to Class Representatives and Attorneys Fees and Expenses . filed by Chanel Meausa, Gary Shaw, Ricardo Jones, David Thompso n, Ryburn Walkes, Jeremy Thames, Victor Breland, Michael Bennett, Sharif Stinson, Leander Griffin: For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs' motion for final approval of the Settlement, award of service payments to the Class Representatives, and attorneys' fees and expenses is granted. (Signed by Judge Robert W. Sweet on 6/7/2017) (jwh) Modified on 6/12/2017 (jwh).

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ------------------------------------------x SHARIF STINSON, et al., Plaintiffs, 10 Civ. 4228 (RWS) - against OPINION THE CITY OF NEW YORK , et al., Defendants. ------------------------------------------r:-x = ===========n A P P E A RA N C E S: Attorneys for Plaintiffs COHEN & FITCH LLP 233 Broadway, Suite 1800 New York, NY 10279 By: Gera l d M. Cohen, Esq. Joshua P. Fitch, Esq. THE 225 New By: USDC SDNY \, DOCU~itENT j j ELECTl{ONICALLY FlLED I ll DOC #: - - h I~ I1711 ~OATEFILELJ: LAW OFFICES OF JON L. NORINSBERG PLLC Broadway, Suite 2700 York , NY 10 007 Jon L. Norisberg, Esq. QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP 51 Madison Avenue New York , NY 10010 By: Stephen Neuwirth , Esq. Elinor C. Sutton, Esq. Attorney for Defendants ZACHARY W. CARTER Corporation Counsel of the City of New York 100 Church Street New York , NY 10007 By: Rachel Seligman Weiss, Esq. Sweet, D.J. This civil rights class action is the paradigm of change and progress achievable in a society undergirded by the rule of law. Skilled and dedicated counsel for the parties, aided by a highly experienced and pragmatic mediator, have reached a resolution benefitting all concerned. The strongly held positions, vigorously litigated and, initially, diametrically opposed, have been illuminated by facts developed in the discovery process and resolved. Thanks to the skill of those involved and a concerned administration, those injured will be compensated, police procedures will be clarified and strengthened, and the rights of all citizens will be fortified through what has been represented as the largest settlement of Fourth Amendment claims in New York City history. To that end, named Plaintiffs Sharif Stinson, Ryburn Walkes, Gary Shaw, Michael Bennett, Chanel Meausa, David Thomson, Jeremy Thames, Leander Griffin, Ricardo Jones, and Victor Breland (collectively, "Class Representatives" or "Plaintiffs"), on behalf of themselves and the Class 1 , have moved for orders (i) granting final approval of the proposed 1 The Class is represented by Cohen & Fitch, LLP, Jon L. Norinsberg, Esq., and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (hereinafter, the "Class Counsel"). 1 settlement (the "Settlement") with the City of New York ("N YC " ) , Raymond Ke ll y ("Kelly") , the former Commissioner of the New York Police Department ("NYPD"), and unnamed New York City Police Off ice rs (collectively, "Defendants") ; (ii) the award of service payments to the Class Representatives; and (iii) the granting of attorneys ' fees and expenses . For the reasons set forth below , Plaintiffs' motion is granted. I. Prior Proceedings The procedural history and factual background of this lengthy and intensely litigated class action has been set forth in prior opinions by this Court. See e . g ., Stinson v . City of N. Y., 282 F.R.D. 360, 364 - 67 (S .D. N.Y. 2012) (laying out of the allegations and factual background of the case) ; Stinson v. City of N.Y., No. 10 Civ. 4228, 2015 WL 4610422 2015) (S.D.N.Y. July 23 , (detailing stages of the discovery process); Stinson v. City of N. Y. , No. 10 Civ . 4228 , 2016 WL 817445 (S . D. N. Y. Feb. 24, 2016) (describing multiple motions to unseal). Familiarity with this case ' s general background is assumed. The instant action concerns hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who , over the course of many years, were issued summonses later dismissed after a finding of facial 2 insufficiency or were ticketed without probable cause . The Plaintiff Class is defined as "the Class Representatives and all other individuals who were issued C Surrunonses by the NYPD that were later dismissed upon a judicial finding of facial or le gal insufficiency by the court prior to trial, and whose C Surrunonses were issued without probable cause during the Class Period [May 25 , 2007 through January 24 , 20 1 7 ] ." (Dec l aration of Gerald M. Cohen dated April 14, 2017 (" Cohen Deel."), Ex . D at ! 1.32 , Dkt . 327) ; see also Stinson , 282 F.R.D. at 363 (defining and cert if y in g c la ss). During 2015 and 2016 , the parties met with retired Southern District of New York District Judge John S. Martin to meditate and try to reach a sett lement . The first full-day mediation session in August 2015 was unsuccessful. (Pls. ' Mem. in Supp . at 7 - 8 . ) After an add iti ona l yea r of d is covery and motion practice, the parties engaged Judge Mart in for a series of med it ation sessions throughout August 2016 . (Id . ) These sessions culmi nated on August 22 , 2016 with an agreement between the part i es as to a final Class Fund figure and genera l outl ine of remedial measured to be taken by the NYPD . (Pls .' Mem . in Supp. at 8.) Subsequent meetings, often with ass i stance from Judge Martin, resulted i n determining proposed amounts for attorneys ' 3 fees , expense reimbursements , the notice and proof of c l aims language , and c l aims procedures . ( Pls .' Mem. in Supp . at 9 . ) On January 23 , 2017 , both parties requested preliminary approval of the Settlement , notice plan , and appointment of Rust Consulting as the Settlement claims administrator. (Dkt. 319.) The Court granted preliminary approval of the proposed Settlement on January 24 , 201 7 , ( Dkt . 320), wh i ch was amended with approval on January 30, 201 7, ( Dkt . 322) . The proposed Settlement contains both monetary and non monetary benefits to the Class . Within seventy- five days of the Settlement's final approval, NYC wi l l create a fund for the Class that will contain $56 . 5 million (the "Class Fund"), from which any service awards for Class Representatives and expense costs in the administration of the Cl ass Fund would be drawn. 2 (Cohen Deel ., Ex. D at~~ 5 . 1 , 6.4 , 6 . 5.) The remaining Class Fund will be distributed pro rata to e l ig i ble claimants on a per summons incident basis with a maximum payout of $150 per summons. (Cohen Deel. , Ex. D at ~ 2 7. 2.) A separate and Class Counsel has represented that administrative costs are est i mated to be between 1 . 35 and 1 . 5 million dollars. (Pls. ' Mem. in Supp. at 22 n.8.) 4 additional $18.5 million is to be paid to Class Counsel by NYC for attorneys' fees and expense. (Cohen Deel., Ex . D at~ 5.1.) In addition, the NYPD has stated that within three to twelve months of the Settlement 's final approval, the NYPD wil l undertake remedial measures related to quotas, including: sending Department-wide commun i cat ions informing officers that quotas and other numeric measures of performance are improper and subject to investigation by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau; revising the tr a ining new NYPD recruits receive with regard to quotas and teaching recruits how to report observed issues with o ut fear of reprisal; and improving public relations by simplifying the process for individuals who receive summons to identify officers responsible and for voicing complaints about summons if individuals believe the summons was i ssued unfairly. 3 (Cohen Deel., Ex. D at 6-8. ) 3 These are in addition to a number of other remedial steps that the NYC and NYPD have undertaken since the start of the instant lawsuit, including passing laws that expand the use of civil summons versus C- Summons and custodial arrests , amending the NYPD forms for writ in g and issuing summons to include more narrative space, providing regular summons issuan ce data to increase NYPD transparency , and revising internal NYPD officer patrol procedures and training on investigati ve encounters. (Cohen Deel., Ex. D at 3 - 6.) 5 Following preliminary approval , a total of 922 , 316 copies of the Notice and Proof of Claim (" Notices " ) were mailed to potentia l Class members after reviewing records provided by the New York Office of Court Administration. (Cohen Deel ., Ex. F. ) At the time of the Fairness Hearing, fi ve object i ons had been filed and thirt y individuals had opted- o ut of the Settlement. 4 ( Fairness Hr'g Tr. 48:9-10, May 24 , 2017 . ) On April 14 , 2017 , Plaintiffs moved for final approval of the Settlement , serv i ce payments to Class Representatives , and granting of attorneys ' fees and expenses . (Dkt. 324 . ) On May 24 , 2017 , a Fairness Hearing was held pursuant to Fed. R . Civ. P . 23(e) (2) , at which time counse l from both sides spoke , ob ject ions to the proposed Settlement were heard , and th e motion was marked fully submitted. II. Applicable Standard Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) provides that "claims, i ssues , o r defenses of a certified class may be settled , voluntarily dismissed , or compromised on l y with the court 's approval. " Fed . R. Civ. P . 23(e) . The Court may approve 4 Objections to the proposed Class Settlement are discussed in greater detail at Section III(ii) (2) , in fra. 6 a settlement " on l y after a hearing and on finding that the is fair , reasonable , and adequate. " Cent . settlement States Se. & Sw. Areas Health & Welfare Fund v . Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C ., 504 F . 3d 229, 247 (2d Cir . 2007) (quoting Fed . R . Civ . P . 23 (e) (1) (C)). To determine whether a settlement is fair , reasonable, and adequate, the Second Ci rcuit instructs district courts to examine "the neg ot iating process leading up to the settlement, i.e ., procedural fairness, as well as the settlement ' s substantive terms , i.e., substantive fairness ." McReynolds v . Richards - Cantave , 588 F . 3d 790 , 803 - 04 2009) (2d Cir . (quoting D' Amato v. Deutsche Bank , 236 F.3d 78 , 85 (2d Cir . 2001)) (internal quotation marks and alternations omitted) Underlying the court ' s analysis is a "strong judicial policy in favor of settlements , particularly in the class action context ." Wal-Mart Stores , In c . v . Visa U.S.A ., Inc ., 396 F.3d 96 , 116 (2d Cir. 2005) (citations omitted) . III. The Proposed Settlement is Approved 1. The Settlement is Procedurally Fair There is a presumption of fairness when settlements are "reached in arm's-length negotiations between experienced , capable counsel after meaningful discovery." Wal - Mart Stores , 7 Inc. , 396 F . 3d at 116 (citation omitted) . This presumption is well-grounded here. The parties are represented by competent , experienced counsel who engaged in over six years of discovery and contentious motion practice , addressing matters both before this Court and the Second Circuit. See Stinson , 282 F . R.D. at 371 - 72 ; (discussing the litigation experience of Plaintiffs ' counsel) ; ( Pls .' Mem. in Supp . at 5-7) . The proposed Settlement was only reached at the tail-end of discovery and on the eve of summary judgment, after multiple arm ' s-length mediation sessions with Judge Martin , all of which further supports finding procedural fairness in the process . (See Cohen Deel., Ex. E at 2; Pls.' Mem. in Supp . at 7-8 , 25 . ) Accordingly , the proposed Settlement is procedurally fair. 11. The Settlement is Substantively Fair In the Second Circuit, substantive fairness is evaluated by considering the nine factors set forth in City of Detroit v . Grinnell Corp. : (1) the complexity, expense and likely duration of the litigation; ( 2) the reaction of the class to the settlement ; ( 3) the stage of the proceedings and the amount of discovery completed; ( 4) the risks of establishing liability; ( 5) the risks of establishing damages; ( 6) the risks of maintaining the class action through the trial; ( 7) the ability of the defendants 8 to withstand a greater judgment; (8) the range of reasonableness of the settlement fund in light of the best possible recovery; [and] ( 9) the range of reasonableness of the settlement fund t o a possible recovery in light of all the attendant risks of litigati on . 495 F . 2d 448 , 463 (2d Cir . 1974) (c it ations omitted) , abrogated on other grounds by Goldberger v . Integrated Res ., Inc ., 209 F . 3d 43 (2d Cir . 2000) . As set forth below , eight of the nine of the Grinnell factors weigh , in varying degrees , in favor of approval of the Settlement, and none weigh against . Accordingly, the proposed Settlement is substantively fair . 1. Complexity , Expense, and Likely Duration of the Litigation The difficulties presented in this case were legion . The claims in the lawsuit covered a decade ' s worth of NYPD issued summons and arrest quotas from ninety-eight different police precincts across NYC . The Settlement was preceded by intense fact discovery , involving the production and examination o f hundreds of thousands of documents and thousands of hours of audio visual materials . Forty-four depositions were conducted . Class certification was challenged four times over six years and, had settlement not been reached, it is reasonable to expect 9 that there would have been many more substantive motions leading up to a l ikely trial of Plaintiffs ' claims, all of which would have been expensive. Accordingly , the first Grinnell factor supports approval of the proposed Settlement. 2 . Reaction of the Class t o the Settlement " It is well settled that the reaction of the class to the settlement is perhaps the most significant factor to be weighed in considering its adequacy ." In re Bear Stearns Companies, Inc . Sec . , Derivative , & ERISA Litig . , 909 F . Supp . 2d 259 , 266 ( S . D. N. Y. 2012) (quoting In re Am. Bank Note Holographies, Inc ., 127 F. Supp . 2d418 , 425 (S . D. N. Y. 2001)). A total of 922 , 316 Notices were sent to potential class members . As o f May 14 , 2017, 39 , 094 class members have submitted claim forms , and the claim period window remains open until September 6 , 2017 . (Defs . ' Ltr . of May 19, 2017, Dkt . 334) During the Fairness Hearing , Class Co unsel represented to the Court that there have been only 30 requests for exclusion . (Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 48 : 3 - 4.) Defendants have argued, both in response to the instant motion and during the Fairness Hearing , that the number of 10 undeliverable Notices - represented to the Court during the hearing as approximately 276 , 000 Notices 52:6) - and the Class ' (Fairness Hr ' g Tr. low response rate should forestall the Court's final approval of the Settlement and permit more time to opt - out, (see Defs .' Ltr. of May 19, 2017). The present difficu l ty in reaching approximately 30 % of the potential Class members may be off set by the undertaking of the parties to run an additional advertising campaign in major New York newspapers throughout the summer , particularly targeting pub l ications popular in neighborhoods where summons tended to be issued . (See Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 55 : 3-22 . ) Ultimately , though , the Notice mailing was sufficient to comply with the requirements of Rule 23. "[ N] otice by mail sent to the l ast known address of the absent class member meets the due process requirement of notice through ' reasonable effort ' even where numerous class members have since changed addresses and do not receive notice . " In re Prudential Sec . Inc. Ltd . P ' ships Litig ., 164 F . R. D. 362 (S . D.N.Y . 1996) (collecting cases) ; see also Gonzalez v . City of N. Y., 396 F. Supp . 2d 411 , 418 (S . D. N. Y. 2005) (finding that individual mailings reaching only one - third of the potential class , even without supplemental newspaper publications , constituted adequate notice) . It is not wholly surprising that a sizeable percentage of the Notices were 11 undeliverable. Given the breadth of time covered by the claim period, and the probability of many potential Class members to have moved and changed addresses, the resultant undeliverable rate does not render the Settlement unfair. See In re W. Union Money Transfer Litig., No. 01 Civ. 0335 (CPS), 2004 WL 3709932, at *14 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 19, 2004) (approving a settlement as fair where undeliverable rate was 45 % because of the "the length of the class period, the size and the mobility of the Settlement Class, and the likelihood that some name and address information may not have been accurately provided or entered at the time"). Contrary to the position of Defendants, it is neither improper nor premature for the Court to rule on the fairness of the Settlement at present based on the current response of the Class. While only a small percentage of Class members have made claims, that number may increase in the coming months. It is the "absence of significant exclusion[s] or objection[s]" that courts in this Circuit regularly consider, not low response rates. In re Bear Stearns, 909 F. Supp. 2d at 267 v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 823 F.2d 20, 24 (citing Grant (2d Cir. 1987)); see also Jermyn v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., No. 08 Civ. 214 WL 2505644, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. June 27, 2012) CIGNA Corp., 369 F. Supp. 2d 34, 52 12 (CM), 2012 (quoting Sylvester v. (D. Me. 2005)) (observing that "' claims made ' settlements regularly yield response rates of 10 percent or less"). While on occasion courts wait until the close of the claims deadline to determine the fairness of a settlement , the reverse is neither unprecedented , see Lee v . Ocwen Loa n Servicing, LLC , No . 14 Civ . 60649 (JG) , 2015 WL 5449813 , at *23 (S . D. Fla . Sept . 14, 2015) (collecting cases) , nor unfounded in the present circumstance , where even Defendants concede that the " terms of the settlement are fair , " (Defs .' Ltr. of May 19 , 2017) . Delay in approving the Settlement delays the Settlement ' s many positive pr ov isions and pre vent s the tens of thousands of wronged Class members who are already claimants from receiving just compensation from the as-yet created Class Fund . (See Cohen Deel . , Ex . D at 17.) Delay also prol ongs the period before the NYPD i s required to implement changes to the NYPD ' s recruit training, its internal reporting protocol, and its officer patrol guidan ce . (See Cohen Deel ., Ex . D at 6- 8 . ) Approval permits these substantive remedies and valuable reforms to begin . Five objections were filed prior to the Fairness Hearing . Three objections were letters from claimants : Glenn Johnson , Boisey Caldwell , and Jason Montague . 13 (See Cohen Deel., Ex . G; Pls .' Ltr . of May 23 , 2017 , Ex. A, Dkt. 337.) Mr . Johnson's letter objects to the Settlement 's payment of $150 maximum per summons, which he believes is an insufficiently small amount. Mr . Caldwell's letter, if construed as an objection , expresses similar discontent regarding the size of the settlement amount payout . 5 Mr . Montague ' s letter objects to the need to receive payout from the NYPD for what he terms "a mild inconvenience ." (Pls .' Ltr. of May 23 , 2017 , Ex . A.) To the extent that the handful of objections made based on this issue are grounded in claims actua lly covered by the Settlement , they do not const itute a basis to reject the Settlement. Given the degree of injury inher ent in improperly receiving a summons , on average about fi ve to ten minutes during which time the summons was written up while the Class member simply had to wait, damages of $150 per summons is sufficient to find that portion of the Settlement fair . See, e . g. , Watson v . United States , 17 9 F. Supp. 3d 251, 281 (E . D. N. Y. 2016) (accept ing damages of $83 an hour for " loss of liberty" c laim ) . Two object i ons , while differing slightly , both fundamentally focus on the "Released Claims" language of the 5 Several indi v iduals who spoke at the Fairness Hearing also expressed discontent at the size of the Settlement amount, similar to the letters of Messrs . Johnson and Ca ldwell. (See , e.g ., Fairness Hr'g Tr . 13 :1- 6 , 15:1 0 , 23:18 . ) 14 Settlement . (See Cohen Deel., Ex. D at~ 1 . 28 . ) One objection was made by attorney Jeffrey Rothman ( "Rothman " ) on behalf of some of his clients ; one object i on was made by the firms Stecklow & Thompson and Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP on behalf of their clients in a separate litigation , Packard v . City of N. Y., 15 Ci v . 7130 (S . D.N.Y. 20 15 ) ("Pa ckard " ) . Both provided both written submissions and made oral argument at the Fairness Hearing . Rothman objects that the release la nguage has the potential to release Class members' other claims that stem from the issuance of improper summonses, even if those derivative cla ims are substantially more serious , such as claims for excess i ve force by the NYPD. (See Fairness Hr'g Tr. 3 : 21- 6 :1. ) Packard objects that the release language might release claims by potential class members of their yet-uncertified class action against the NYPD based on arrests made during the Occupy Wall Street first anniversary , during which some potential Packard class members might have received summons . (See Fairness Hr'g Tr. 8 : 3-12 : 21 . ) Rothman requests that the release language be removed; Packard requests a carve-out be in cluded in the language fo r their nascent class action . Rothman and Packard claim they have standing to object because some of their clients are potential Class members covered by the instant Settlement . 15 As a threshold matter , it is not apparent that either Rothman o r Packard have standing to object . On l y a " class member may ob ject to the [se ttlement] proposal ," Fed. R . Civ . P . 23(e) (5) , which implies that "[o]bjectors who are non-Class members lack standing to object to . th e settlement ." In re Drexel Burnham Lamb ert Grp ., Inc ., 130 B.R . 910 , 923 & n . 8 (S .D.N. Y. 1 991) (collecting cases) ; see also Cent . States Se . & Sw . Areas Health , 504 F . 3d at 244 ("N onpart i es to a settlement generally do not have standing to object to a settlement of a class action ." ) . Rothman contends that he has clients who are members of the instant Class , but the on ly clients he has identified he also states have opted out . (See Rothman Ltr . of Apr. 24 , 2017 at 3 & n.3 , Dkt . 330 ; Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 67:19 - 24 ; Pls. ' Mem . in Resp. to Objections at 2 n.1, Dkt. 335 . ) Class members who opt - out of the settlement ext inguish their ability to object to it and those objections need not be considered . See , e . g ., People United for Children , Inc. v . City of N. Y. , No. 99 Civ . 648 (KTD) , 2 007 WL 582720 , at *3 (S . D. N. Y. Feb . 26 , 2007) . Packard states that , of their potential class members , " [s]ome may have been issued summonses ," but have not identified any particular individual shown to be a class member of the instant action . (Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 10: 21 ; see also Fairness Hr' g Tr. 63:20 - 21 . ) In all likelihood , this renders both objecto rs non-parties . Nevertheless , the breadth of the release claim 16 language is a legitimate concern for the Class and these objectors attended the Fairness Hearing alleging to represent Cl ass members. See United States v . N. Y., No . 13 Civ . 4165 (NGG) (MDG) , 20 1 4 WL 1028982 , at *10 (E . D. N. Y. Mar . 17 , 2014) (cons i de ri ng objections when possible non - party merely " claim[ed] " to include class members , even when objectors failed to at t e n d Fairness Hearing) . Ro thman ' s concern about the Settlement extingu i sh i ng potent i a l claims derivative to improperly i ssued summons is based p ri ncipal l y on language from the Notice , not the re l ease language of the Settlement , which unlike the Notice does not mention particular causes of act i on to be released by the Sett l ement . (See Rothman Ltr . of Apr . 24 , 2017 at 1- 2 , Dkt . 330 ; Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 65 :1 7 - 66 : 1 . ) Some of Rothman ' s concerns were s u ff i c i en tl y resolved at the Fa ir ness Hear i ng , d u r i ng which the parties st i pulated that the Settlement ' s release l anguage was not to i nc l ude claims for excess i ve force . (Fairness Hr ' g Tr . 69 : 4 -1 2 , 72 : 23 - 25 . ) However , insofar as the release language states th at it r eleases claims " based upon or aris i ng out the same t r ansaction , ser i es of connected transactions , occurrences or nucle u s of operative facts that form the basis of the c l aims t h at we r e or could have been asserted in the [instant ] Civil Action ," both Rothman and Packard ' s concern remain outstanding : 17 some potential claims connected to issued summonses encompassed by the instant Settlement could be released if the Settlement is approved . (Cohen Deel ., Ex . D ~ 1.28 . ) Defendants conceded as much during the Fairness Hearing, stating that , "I f there was something that was factually similar to the summons charge , then there may be an argument that [a class member] cannot recover damages for the arrest based o n the re l ease languag e ." (Fa irness Hr ' g Tr. 45 : 10 - 15 . ) " May " is the correct and operative word here : the thrust of these objections is a hypothetical exercise . The Settlement ' s release language does not, by its terms , release any class member ' s claims of constitutional violation , even if such claims were connected in some way to the issuance of a summons otherwise resolved by the instant Settlement . As Class Counsel stated during the Fairness Hearing , this Settlement is narrowly about "t he improper Fourth Amendment vio lati on of improper seizure of individuals. [T]o the extent that someone has a claim outside that , this would not prevent that indi vidual from bringing that claim ." (Fairness Hr ' g Tr. 39 : 6- 15.) To argue otherwise , while perhaps not impossible , would be attenuated , and is an argument for another day . 18 Given the hypothetical nature of the objections, foreclosed in part by the oral stipulation of the parties and their constraining language at the Fairness Hearing, these objections are noted but do not weigh against approving a Settlement that even the objectors acknowledge obtains "a very significant public good." (Rothman Ltr. of Apr. 24 , 2017 at 1 ) ; see also In re Literary Works in Elec. Databases Copyright Litig., 242 , 247 -4 8 (2d Cir. 2011) 106) 654 F.3d (citing Wal-Mart Stores , 396 F.3d at ("Parties often reach broad settlement agreements encompassing claims not presented in the complaint in order to achieve comprehensive settlement of class actions, particularly when a defendant's ability to limit his future liability is an important factor in his willingness to settle.") In sum, the Court does not find the Notice procedure, presently low claims rate, or object ions to show a negative Class reaction to the Settlement. Rather, the overall low number of objections and requests for exclusion, in the context of the hundreds of thousands of Notices already delivered, is itself a positive indication of general approval. See Grant, 823 F.2 at 24 (finding an otherwise fair settlement should be approved even when 36% of the total class was in opposition) ; Wright v . Stern, 553 F. Supp. 2d 337, 344-45 (S .D. N.Y . 2008) (holding that "[t]he fact that the vast majority of class members neither objected 19 nor opted out is a strong indication " of fairness) . The objections raised are thoughtful , appreciated , and give the Court pause , but ultimately this Grinnell factor leans in favor of approval . 3 . Stage of Proceedings and Amount of Discovery "In considering this factor , the question is whether the parties had adequate information about their claims such that their counsel can intelligently evaluate the merits of plaintiff ' s c laims, the strengths of the defenses asserted by defendants , and the value of plaintiffs ' causes of action for purposes of settlement ." In re Bear Sterns , 909 F . Supp . 2d at 267 (quoting In re IMAX Sec . Litig ., 283 F.R.D. 1 78 , 190 (S.D . N. Y. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). Here, the parties reached the Settlement after years of discovery , depositions , extensive motion practice , and arguments before this Court and the Second Cir cu it. At this "advanced stage ," the parties were in a position to evaluate intelligently their claims and defenses and to negotiate a fa i rly valued settlement . In re Marsh ERISA Litig. , 265 F.R . D. 12 8 , 139 (S . D. N. Y. 2010) (finding the stage of the proceeding "str ongly " favored approval when co un sel had "reviewed millions of pages of documents, participated in 100 depositions, exchanged expert rep orts and 20 rebuttal reports , and fully briefed the issue of class certification" ) . This Grinnell factor greatly weighs in favor of approval . 4 . Risks of Establishing Liability and Damages "Liti gation inherently involved risk ," and had this c l ass action advanced to trial , itwould have been no exception . In re PaineWebber Ltd . P ' ships Litig. , 171 F.R.D . 104 , 126 (S .D.N.Y. 19 97) . This was a wide-reaching , complicated civil rights that would have presented Plaintiffs significant obstacles at trial . First , Plai ntiffs needed to estab lish municipal liability by proving the existence of an o fficial NYPD policy , pattern , or practice that required officers to issue summonses regardless of probable cause to meet a minimum quota requirement established by the Department or face punishment . Plaintiffs then needed to show that such a policy resulted in violations of their constituti onal rights . Given the breadth of summonses issued over the span of a decade , across almost one hundred precincts , and by countless different police officers , proving their case would have indeed been "a difficult task ." Gentile v . Cnty . of Suffolk , 129 F . R. D. 435 , 444 Goode , 423 U. S . 362 (E . D. N. Y. 1990) (citing Rizzo v . (1976)) . Establishing damages would have been no easier , as putting a value on the violation of one ' s 21 coffe r s ' before a settlement can be found adequate ." In re I MAX Sec . Li t i g ., 283 F . R . D. 178 , 191 (S . D. N. Y. 2012) (quoting In re Sony SXRD Rear Projection Television Class Action Litig ., No . 06 Civ . 5173 (RPP) , 2008 WL 1956267 , at *8 (S . D. N.Y . May 1 , 2008)) . Even with a $75 million Settlement , this Grinnell f actor i s neutra l as to approval of the Settlement . 7 . The Range of Reasonableness of the Settlement Fund in Light of the Best Possible Recovery and All the Attendant Risks of Litigation "[I] n any case there is a range of reasonab l eness with respect to a settlement. " Newman v . Stein , 464 F . 2d 689 , 693 (2d Cir. 1972) . " The adequacy of the amount achieved in settlement may not be judged ' in comparison with the possible recovery in t he best of all possible worlds , but rather in light of the strengths and weaknesses of plaintiffs ' case. '" In re Giant Interact i ve Grp ., Inc . Sec . Litig ., 279 F . R . D. 151 , 162 (S . D. N. Y. 2011) (quoting In re Agent Orange Prod . Liab . Litig ., 597 F . Supp . 740 , 762 (E . D. N. Y. 1984) , aff ' d , 818 F . 2d 145 (2d Cir . 1 987)) . " The fact that a proposed settlement may only amount to a fraction of the potential recovery does not , in and of i tse l f , mean that the proposed settlement is grossly inadequate and should be disapproved ." Grinnell , 495 F . 2d at 455 & n . 2 ("I n fact there is no reason , at least in theory , why a satisfactory settlement could not amount to a hundredth or even 23 $4,000 to over $50,000 based on "pers onal risk (i f any) incurred by the plaintiff - applicant in becoming and continuing as a litigant, the time and effort expended by that plaintiff in assisting in the prosecution of the litigation [and] any other burdens sustained by that plaintiff in lending himself or herself to the prosecution of the claim" ) . V. Approval of Requested Attorneys' Fees "The Second Circuit has authorized district courts to employ a percentage - of - the - fund method when awarding [attorneys'] fees in common fund cases , although th e Circ uit has encouraged district courts to cross-check the percentage fee against counsel's "l odestar " amount of hourly rate multiplied by hours spent. It bears emphasis that whether calcu la ted pursuant to the lodestar or the percentage method , the fees awarded in common fund cases may not exceed what is ' reasonable ' under the circumstances ." In re Giant Interactive Grp ., 279 F.R . D. at 163 64 (quoting Goldberger , 209 F . 3d at 47 , 50) (inter nal c itati o n and quotation marks omitted) . As a general matter, however, "the trend in this Ci rcuit is toward the percentage method ." McDaniel v . Cnty. of Schenectady , 595 F . 3d 411 , 417 26 (2d Cir . 2010) . The six factors laid out by the Second Circuit in Goldberger "are applicable to the court ' s reasonableness determination whether a percentage - of - fund or l odestar approach is used . " I d . at 423 . The factors are : " ( l ) the time and labor expended by counsel ; litigation ; (2) the magnitude and complexities of the (3) the risk of the litigation ; representati on ; (4) the quality of ( 5) the requested fee in relati on to the settlement ; and (6) public policy conside rati ons . " Goldberger, 209 F . 3d at 50 . As set forth below , all the Go ldberger factors weigh in favor of finding the requ ested fee award reas o nabl e . 1 . Time and Lab or Expended by Counse l Class Co uns el and their para - professional staff have dedicated 27 , 753 . 50 h ours to the instant class action . (See Pls .' Mem. in Supp . at 29 ; see also Declarat i on of Stephen Neuwirth dated Apr . 14 , 2017 , Ex . A, Dkt . 325 ("N e uwirth Deel.") ; Declaration of Jon L . Norinsberg dated Apr. 14, 2017 at ~~ 49 - 51 , Ex . A, Dkt. 326 ("Norinsberg Deel . ") ; Cohen Deel. at ~~ 52-61 , Ex . H. ) Ove r the years of litigati on , the se h o urs were spent engage d in the work necessary to o rganize and maintain a successful class action : coordinating with Cla ss members ; 27 responding to and making motions , including successfully for Class certification ; attending court appearances ; engaging in discovery resulting in hundreds of thousands of produced , organized , and analyzed documents ; taking and defending forty four depositi ons ; and participating in mediation sessions . Given the scope of this case , the time and labor spent by Class Counsel is both reasonable and weigh in favor of approval . A lodestar cross - check confirms this view . 6 Based on their total hours worked , Class Counsel has reported an aggregated lodestar of $16 , 614 , 153 . 50 . requested attorneys ' (Pls .' Mem . in Supp. at 29) The fees thus represents a multiplier of 1 . 11 of the lodestar . As neither the rates billed nor the multiplier sought are outside the normal ranges regularly accepted in this district , this cross - check supports approval . See Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborho od Ass ' n v . Cnty . o f Albany & Albany Cnty. Bd . of Elections , 522 F . 3d 182 , 191 (2d Cir . 2008) (stating that "a reasonable , paying client would in most cases hire counsel from within his district , or at least co unsel whose rates are consistent with those charged locally") ; Febus v . Guardian First Funding Grp. , LLC , 870 F . Supp. 2d 337 , 340 6 The "lodestar" is a numeric value that aims to capture the value of a firm ' s work over the course of a particular litigat i on . It is ca lculated by multiplying h ours reasonably expended by a reasonable hourly rate . 28 (S . D. N. Y. 2012) (accepting a lodestar multipl i er of 2 . 2 as " well wit hin the range of acceptable " ) . 2 . Magnit u de and Complexities of Liti gat i on As se t forth above , the i ssues present in the i n stant class act i on we r e factua ll y vast , spanning many years and many p r ec in ct s, and legally complex . See Section III(ii) (4) supra . Th is f acto r we i ghs i n favor of approva l. 3 . Risk of Li tigation As d i sc u ssed above , there were many risks in this class act i on , in cluding sustaining the Class , proving municipa l li ab i lity , establish i ng causation , and calcula t ing damages . I n addi t ion , there i s the risk attendant to when attorneys take a case on a contingency fee: for the past seven years , Class Counse l h as h ad to dedicate resources without guarantee o f comp e nsa ti on . When considering attorneys ' fees in such ci r c ums t a n ces , "[n ] o one expects a l awyer whose compensat i on is cont in gent upon h i s success to charge , when successfu l, as little as he wo u ld charge a client who in adva n ce h ad agreed t o p ay f o r his services , regardless of success. " Gr inne ll, 29 495 F. 2d at 470. Taken together, the risks inherent to this lawsuit weigh toward approval. 4. Quality of Representation While the Class has been represented by attorneys rightfully recognized as some of the top class action litigators in the country, (see Pls.' Mem. in Supp. at 25 (citing cases)), it is the results of this class action that evidence strongest the quality of the representation. Six years of a vigorous yet forward-moving litigation strategy, a successful Class certification, and, ultimately, a settlement for which the monetary amount is the second largest in NYC history and the non-monetary benefits could be, in the Court's view, "a gamechanger" for NYC communities, all are the true testaments to the strength of the representation provided to the Class and weigh in favor of approval. (Fairness Hr'g Tr. 7 6:24.) 5. Requested Fee in Relation to the Settlement The requested fee is 24.6 % of the total Settlement, a figure that falls at the higher end of fees historically approved in civil rights class actions in this district but nevertheless lands comfortably within permissible bounds. See 30 Trinidad v . Pret a Manger (USA) Ltd ., No . 12 Ci v. 6094 20 1 4 WL 4670870 , at *11 -1 2 (S . D. N. Y. Sept . 1 9 , 20 1 4) (PAE ) , (co l lecting civil ri g h ts class action cases showing a range of award percentages from 13 % to 25 % and ultimately approving 25 %, down from an initial request of 33 %) ; Cronas v . Willis Grp . Holdings , Ltd ., No . 06 Civ . 15295 (RMB) , 2011 WL 6778490 , at *6 (S . D. N. Y. Dec . 1 9 , 2011) (awarding 2 1 .7 % in discrimination class act i o n and no ti ng similar historically approved ranges) . Thus , th i s factor leans in favor of approva l. 6 . Public Policy Considerations There is a " strong federal public po l icy favoring enforceme n t of the civil rights laws so important to the advancement of modern society ." Red Bu l l Assocs . v . Best W. Int ' 1 , I nc ., 862 F . 2d 963 , 967 (2d Ci r . 1 988). The proposed f ee award properly balances moderation with e n couraging litigants to bring forward substantive and impactful cases that are crucia l to en f orc i ng our constitutional liberties . See Goldberger , 209 F . 3d a t 53 . Accordingly , this factor weighs in favor of app r ova l . 31 For the foregoing reasons , and in the absence of any ob j ect i ons to the proposed attorneys ' fees , the request is found reasonable and approved. VI. Approval of Requests for Reimbursement of Expenses "It is well-settled that attorneys may be compensated for reasonab l e out - of-pocket expenses incurred and customarily charged to their clients , as long they were incidental and necessary to the representation of those clients . " I n re Bear Sterns, 909 F . Supp . 2d at 272 (citations omitted) . Class Counsel have requested $374 , 224 . 19 to date in expenses . (Pls . ' Mem. in Supp . at 34 - 35 . ) The list of submi tted expenses include items li ke " deposition transcript[s] , " "investigator ," " online research , " data storage and document ingestion ," " video deposit i on/videotaping ," "mediation fee ," and many line items that are, in different turns of phrase , related to document pr i nting and reproduction . (Neuwirth Deel ., Ex . Bat l ; see also Nor i nsberg Deel. , Ex. B; Cohen Deel ., Ex . H. ) "T hese expenses are the t ype for which the paying , arms ' length market reimburses attorneys ." Cronas , 2011 WL 6778490 , at *7 (internal quotat i on marks and citation omitted). Moreover , there were no objections to these requests . Reimbursement for these expenses i s there f ore approved . 32 Conclusion For the foregoing reasons , Plaintiffs ' mot i on for final approval of the Settlement , award of service payments to the Cl ass Representatives , and attorneys ' fees and expenses is granted . It is so orde red. New Yh k, NY June ' / , 201 7 U . S.D.J. 33

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