In re MoneyGram Int’l, Inc. S’holders Litig., C.A. No. 6387-VCL (Del. Ch. Jan. 7, 2013).
This case is about the award of attorneys’ fees.
This case is notable because it involves the award of fees for non-monetary benefits received during the injunction phase of a case that later proceeded to trial. After the motion for preliminary injunction, disclosures were made that mooted the preliminary injunction, but other claims continued to trial. The case was settled on the eve of trial. There were two parts of the fee application. The non-monetary benefits achieved during the injunction phase were the basis of an award of $1.2 million based on the factors outlined in Sugarland Industries, Inc. v. Thomas, 420 A.2d 142 (Del. 1980).
The settlement reached on the eve of trial, after substantial litigation efforts but at a time when significant work remained and the risk of a potentially negative outcome loomed, was the basis of a separate analysis and award of fees. The Court awarded a percentage of 25% based on the factors described in the case of In re Emerson Radio Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 2011 WL 1135006, at * 3 (Del. Ch. Jan. 18, 2011). The Court applied the Sugarland factors and explained that an aggregate award for both fees and expenses is “more straightforward for the Court and rewards plaintiff’s counsel for being efficient.”
The Court observed that it would have considered an interim fee award after the preliminary injunction phase if it were presented to the Court at that time, although an interim fee award is discretionary with the Court and the Court is not required to grant those requests.