Attorneys in Subaru Windshield Case Request $515,000 Fee

How much do the attorneys representing Subaru car owners suing the car-maker for allegedly defective glass want? More than a half million dollars.

Attorneys with Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP and Greenstone Law PC, who represented a class of Subaru vehicle owners alleging crack-prone windows in the case of Bhupendra Khona et al. v. Subaru of America Inc., filed a brief with a New Jersey federal court on August 12 requesting a $515,000 fee for counsel.

The request, according to the brief, is for the attorneys to receive compensation equal to other attorneys in their region. The attorneys request $850 per senior partner and $225 per paralegal. U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb hesitated in June to approve the fee request after approving settlement of the case.

Bhupendra Khona et al. v. Subaru of America Inc., was filed in California in June 2017 and a settlement reached after January 2019. As part of the settlement, the case was also filed in New Jersey where Subaru of America Inc. is headquartered. More than 100 Subaru vehicle owners alleged in the lawsuit that Subaru dealers denied warranty claims although the automaker knew the windshields in their vehicles had a defect. Subaru did not issue a recall of the windshields despite the fact a defect was found in preproduction testing. The windshield defect was also evident through dealership repair orders, warranty data and complaints from customers.

District Judge Bumb approved extended warranties from five years and unlimited mileage to eight years and unlimited mileage, and a reimbursement program for the owners of the Subarus with crack-prone windshields. The reimbursement program is for members of the class action suit who paid for replacement windshields out-of-pocket.

In the August 12 brief, the attorneys said they worked 1,219 hours in three and a half years on the case, which amounts to $381 per hour per attorney or paralegal if the attorneys were compensated in accordance with the lodestar method. The attorneys had agreed to a capped fee of $515,000.

The firms worked on the case based upon a prior market action, however, in the brief the firms said “it took skill and tenacity to vet the appropriateness of that action and meaningfully further extend the duration of the relief from five years to eight years.”

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