Thursday, October 14, 2010

Federal Judge Takes Race and Gender of Counsel Into Account in Deciding Whom to Appoint as Class Counsel in Securities Class Action Litigation


Federal District Judge Harold Baer of the Southern District of New York on September 20, 2010, in In re: Gildan Activewear Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 08-civ-05048 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 20, 2010), issued an order which reads, in part, as follows:  

“WHEREAS this proposed class includes thousands of participants, both male and female, arguably from diverse backgrounds, and it is therefore important to all concerned that there is evidence of diversity, in terms of race and gender, in the class counsel I appoint, see In re J.P. Morgan Chase Cash Balance Litigation, 242 F.R.D. 265, 277 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); it is hereby
ORDERED that Co-Lead Counsel, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Labaton Sucharow LLP, shall make every effort to assign to this matter at least one minority lawyer and one woman lawyer with requisite experience; and it is further
. . . . . . . .
ORDERED that the parties shall appear for a preliminary approval hearing on October 7, 2010, at 12:30 p.m., at which point Plaintiff’s compliance with the diversity requirement, as well as the other requirements listed here, will be evaluated, and a date for the Settlement Fairness Hearing shall be set.”
See also In re J.P. Morgan Chase Cash Balance Litigation, 242 F.R.D. 265, 277 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (“The proposed class includes thousands of Plan participants, both male and female, arguably from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, I believe it is important to all concerned that there is evidence of diversity, in terms of race and gender, of any class counsel I appoint. A review of the firm biographies provides some information on this score. Here, it appears that gender and racial diversity exists, to a limited extent, with respect to the principal attorneys involved in the case. Co-lead counsel has met this Court's diversity requirement--i.e., that at least one minority lawyer and one woman lawyer with requisite experience at the firm be assigned to this matter.”).

Tip of the hat to Andrew Longstreth with Am Law Litigation Daily for bringing this to our attention.

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