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Gilley v. Atlantic Richfield Co.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 1, 2010

WILLIAM O. GILLEY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ATLANTIC RICHFIELD CO., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER RE INCENTIVE AWARDS

Plaintiffs have renewed their motion for incentive awards [Doc. 227]. Plaintiffs had previously asked for $5,000 incentive awards payable out of the settlement fund-a request the Court denied because Plaintiffs had not supported their request with evidence they had actually worked on the case. And given that this suit had been dismissed on the pleadings, the Court also doubted whether it should incentivize plaintiffs for bringing an unsuccessful lawsuit.

Plaintiffs have now supplemented their motion with evidence that they helped litigate this case. The evidence shows that Plaintiffs William Gilley, Dennis DeCota and Patrick Palmer actively participated in the litigation, and because of their business ties to some Defendants, their participation was risky. Moreover, the Court agrees with Plaintiffs that this was a close case-indeed, a Ninth Circuit panel at first reversed the Court's dismissal of this case, but later affirmed it-and so the concern about incentivizing unsuccessful litigation is low. Plaintiffs' work also succeeded in creating a $525,000 settlement fund. For these reasons, the Court believes it is appropriate to pay a modest incentive award to Plaintiffs. $5,000 is a reasonable award. Hopson v. Hanesbrands, Inc., No. 08cv844, 2009 WL 928133, at *10 (N.D. Cal. April 3, 2009) ("In general, courts have found that $5,000 incentive payments are reasonable.") (citing In re Mego Fin. Corp. Sec. Litig., 213 F.3d 454, 463 (9th Cir. 2000)).

The Court therefore AWARDS $5,000 each to (1) Della Gilley, as representative of the William O. Gilley estate, (2) Dennis DeCota, and (3) Patrick Palmer, which should be paid out of the settlement fund. The funds may be paid to Plaintiffs' counsel, Krause Kalfayan Benink & Slavens, LLP, for distribution to the three plaintiffs.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100901

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