On May 27, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Laffitte v. Robert Half International, no. S222996. This is the case in which the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Seven) affirmed an attorneys' fees award in a wage and hour class action of 33.33% of the $19 million common fund. Laffitte v. Robert Half Int'l Inc., 231 Cal.App.4th 860 (2014), review granted. My original post on the opinion is here.
The opinion was initially unpublished; my publication request for CAOC was one of two filed in late 2014.
The objector's petition for review was granted in February 2015. The petition essentially argued that the percentage method should never be used in common-fund cases, and that under Serrano v. Priest, 20 Cal.3d 25 (1977), fees should be fixed using only the lodestar method — even though Serrano was not a common-fund case and contained no such holding. The subsequently-filed merits briefs included a laundry list of other things the objector thought the trial court should have done differently in ruling on the fee motion.
U.C. Hastings Professors David Levine and Scott Dodson had an excellent and detailed summary of the oral argument at SCOCAblog in June. Based on the justices' questioning, they concluded that "it seems fairly clear that the court will conclude that Serrano does permit a trial court to anchor its fee calculation in a class action on a percentage of the common fund recovered." The only question, according to the professors, is how much "additional guidance" the Court will provide for future fee motions.
We can expect the opinion by Thursday, August 25, 2016 (ninety days from May 27, 2016).
UPDATE: This afternoon, the Supreme Court posted its bi-weekly Notice of Forthcoming Filings indicating that its opinion in Laffitte will be filed tomorrow, August 11, 2016.