Common Benefit Fund Upheld by Eighth Circuit

Following a $750 million settlement with Bayer Cropscience in multidistrict litigation centralized in the Eastern District of Missouri, the district court awarded fees to attorneys providing services for the common benefit of thousands of plaintiffs.   In an appeal by counsel found to have not provided common benefit services, the Eighth Circuit agreed with arguments of Gray Ritter Graham's Gretchen Garrison, finding that the appellant waived challenge to creation of the fund and affirmed the district court's discretion in determining fee awards and the process employed for that determination.   In re Genetically Modified Rice Litig., 764 F.3d 864 (8th Cir. 2014), cert. denied sub nom. Phipps Group v. Downing, 135 S. Ct. 1455 (2015).   In a subsequent appeal, the Eighth Circuit found personal jurisdiction over out-of-state counsel in a suit alleging use of common benefit work and materials without contribution to the common benefit fund.   Downing v. Goldman Phipps, PLLC, 764 F.3d 906 (8th Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 1464, 191 L. Ed. 2d 370 (2015).


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