The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert W. Gettleman
THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO: ALL ACTIONS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING LOUISIANA COUNSEL'S SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS
Having received a fee award of $4,147,360, along with $212,298.84 in costs, attorney Dawn Wheelahan has filed a "supplemental motion" seeking an additional award of more than $20,000 for "travel expenses" that she allegedly incurred in connection with post judgment proceedings. This is an act of shear chutzpah.*fn1 As stated by this court (and the court of appeals) on numerous occasions, there will be no more fees awarded to plaintiffs' counsel in this case. Nor will there be any additional award of costs.
That Ms. Wheelahan chose to appear in person at several court hearings after final judgment had been entered, and after the Seventh Circuit had increased her fee award by $1.4 million, is entirely on her own nickel. This court never requested her attendance, and it was unnecessary. She voluntarily interjected herself into the post-judgment proceedings, including the dispute regarding payments to the post-settlement claimants, and most all of the motions she filed (which could have been presented without personal appearances) were denied.*fn2
In addition, as pointed out by Trans Union*fn3 , Ms. Wheelahan's request was supported by inadequate documentation and appears to be totally out of line with reality. Ms. Wheelahan's request for airfare of over $800 per round trip from New Orleans and hotel expenses of almost $900 a night demonstrate that, despite her protestations, she is wrongfully seeking to squeeze every last nickel she can out of this litigation.
Neither the Settlement Agreement nor any order of this court or the court of appeals allows Ms. Wheelahan to collect any more money for costs or anything else. As Trans Union also points out, the Settlement Agreement and Final Approval Order allowed for a single payment of costs within ten days of final approval (which occurred in 2009). In any event, this court never contemplated an additional award to counsel of any more money from the Settlement Fund for post-judgment activities, especially ones such as those claimed by Ms. Wheelahan that conferred no benefit on the certified nation-wide class.*fn4
It is time to bring this case to a definitive conclusion. Ms. Wheelahan's supplemental motion for reimbursement of costs (Doc. 974) is denied.
Robert W. Gettleman United States ...