Law firms Susman Godfrey, Hausfeld seek $25 mln from latest Libor settlement

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By Mike Scarcella

- Two U.S. plaintiffs law firms have asked a Manhattan federal judge to award them $25.2 million in legal fees for their most recent settlement in antitrust litigation against major banks that has netted deals worth $781 million so far.

Law firms Susman Godfrey and Hausfeld on Friday submitted their request for fees to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who is presiding over claims in Manhattan federal court that a group of banks conspired to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate, including during the financial crisis.

The fee award would add to others worth more than $100 million for the two firms so far.

Hausfeld and Susman Godfrey represented a class of "over the counter" (OTC) investors that transacted directly with the bank defendants in the Libor litigation, which began in 2011.

In the most recent settlement, the sixth overall, Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank [RIC:RIC:RABO.UL], Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L and other banks agreed to pay $101 million to resolve claims against them.

The fee request amounts to 25% of the new settlement. The firms indicated they would seek up to 30% later in the litigation.

Representatives from Rabobank and Lloyds on Monday did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The banks had disputed the plaintiffs' claims and denied liability.

Susman Godfrey's William Carmody and Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld had no immediate comment.

Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, has been used as a reference to set interest rates on items including mortgages, credit cards and student loans. The plaintiffs claimed the defendant banks artificially lowered the rate, reducing payments to individuals and institutions that are part of the class.

Among other defendants, Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE paid $240 million in a prior settlement, and Citibank agreed to pay $130 million.

In their fee filing, the class attorneys said they have spent 124,422 hours on the litigation through July.

Carmody, who heads Susman Godfrey's New York office and is a member of the firm's executive committee, is billing at $2,200 an hour, the filing showed. Michael Hausfeld's rate was listed at $1,550 an hour.

A court hearing to determine the fairness of the latest settlement is scheduled for Dec. 12.

The case is In re: Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-md-02262.

Read more:

Lawyers win big in $787.5 million Fox defamation case

U.S. appeals court revives Libor-rigging claims against banks

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella)


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